drunk driving collisionHe’s being called an angel. A 50 to 60 year old, silver haired priest appeared out of nowhere to pray with Katie Lentz, the victim of a drunk driving collision. The 9:00 am accident had left Lentz trapped inside her vehicle, a seemingly tangled mess of metal.

The emergency teams had to turn her vehicle upright and the sudden change in pressure to her body could have been life-threatening. The situation was critical, and while the emergency teams struggled to free Lentz from her twisted prison, a helicopter waited to transport her to the nearest trauma center. Though Lentz appeared calm, talking about her church and her studies toward a dentistry degree, her vital signs were beginning to fall. It was then that she asked for someone to pray with her, and the priest appeared.

Miraculous Extraction of Victim following Arrival of Mysterious Priest

Raymond Reed, fire chief of New London, Missouri, said the extraction effort made little progress for 45 minutes. However, following the priest’s arrival, he and a fellow rescue worker very plainly heard that they should remain calm, and from this point on the tools would now cut through the mangled Mercedes. Suddenly, they said their efforts began making immediate progress. Then in moments they had freed Lentz from the vehicle and, with the arrival of another local emergency team, took her immediately to the nearest hospital in her hometown of Quincy, Illinois.

When the emergency and rescue workers had successfully put Lentz into the helicopter, they turned around to thank the priest who had seemingly disappeared. He was gone, with no trace – and most importantly – of the 69 photographs taken during the accident, no photo documented his participation in the event. “All we want to do is thank him,” Reed said. “We have a lot of tools that allow us to do many things as well as extensive training.” He said the miraculous intervention by the priest and the sudden success they had in removing Lentz from her vehice “was nothing short of a miracle.”

Priest Harolded as Possible Angel by Victim’s Family

Carla Churchill Lentz, mother of the teen who was critically injured said “I do believe he certainly could have been an angel dressed in priest’s attire because the Bible tells us there are angels among us.” She also stated emergency workers told her there is no way her daughter should have lived inside such a mangled car.

Others from the community expressed similar thoughts, thankful for the safety given to Lentz, but also humbled by the story of the mysterious good Samaritan. As Reed said, many would just like to thank him for the faith and encouragement he provided at such a critical time.

As for the other driver, the Missouri State Highway Patrol reports a 26-year-old male was arrested Sunday, around the same time, on charges of DWI, failure to drive on the right half of the roadway and second-degree felony assault.

Priest Identified as Father Patrick Dowling

Rajah Maples, a KHQA-TV reporter, said “You’re driving down the road, doing everything right, and someone crosses the center lane and your life is changed. There is fear in this story, but then a stranger comes along and through only the love of humankind and a higher power she knew someone was looking out for her.”

That stranger was Father Patrick Dowling. Father Dowling, originally of Kilkenny, Ireland, moved to Missouri thirty-three years ago. The Jefferson City diocese ordained him in 1982 and he currently serves in the Hispanic parish ministry program.

Father Dowling visited Lentz in the hospital earlier this month. The Tulane University student had suffered two broken legs, a broken wrist, nine broken ribs, a lacerated liver, a ruptured spleen and a bruised lung. Yet, despite the odds, Lentz survived this horrific collision with her spirit remaining healthy.

Prevention of Drunk Driving Collisions through Accountability

By holding drunk drivers accountable, we can prevent these unnecessary drunk driving collisions. If you, or anyone you know, has been the victim of a drunk driving collision, please contact an experienced personal injury attorney at the Lieser Law Firm. Through accountability, we can prevent drunk driving collisions and protect our community from these unnecessary and unfortunate events.

In the end, the only thing better than this miraculous story would to have never had a reason to write it.

Source: Everlsey, M. Mystery Priest Appears at Missouri Accident Scene, Is Being Called an Angel KSDK.com, 08/09/2013

Source: Townsend, T. “Miracle Priest” Sees a Divine Plan in a Media Frenzy STLTODAY.com, 08/17/2013