On August 4th, 2013, Illinois student Katie Lentz was driving her Mercedes convertible on Highway 19 when she was suddenly hit head-on by a drunk driver. The horrific accident crushed Lentz’s car in a mangled wreck, leaving her with life threatening injuries including multiple fractures, a ruptured spleen, and damaged liver.
Emergency responders rushed to the accident scene, tasked with the responsibility of stabilizing the 19-year-old crash victim and extracting her from the tangled wreckage. However, the challenge in dislodging Lentz from the twisted metal proved daunting due to the equipment at the scene not proving strong enough to cut through the Mercedes’ heavy steel construct. A call was placed asking for the hefty cutting equipment, known as the “jaws of life”, to be sent to the accident site ASAP.
Realizing that Lentz was fading fast, the emergency crew decided to use the equipment at hand. The crew battled for nearly an hour, taking turns cutting through the dense steel. Lentz suddenly regained consciousness and asked them out loud to pray for her survival. At that precise moment, a tall figure dressed in all black appeared on the scene and lead the emergency crew into prayer. He then began blessing the site, along with Lentz and the emergency workers, stating, “God has blessed your work. I hope the credit goes where it is due.”
The crew continued cutting through the heavy steel for another ½ hour until Lentz was finally freed from the tangled mess of steel.
When crew members looked around to thank the “mystery priest”, he had vanished.
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The mystery become even more intense when New London fire chief Raymond Reed acknowledged that the moment they got word of the accident, the highway was immediately blocked off for 2 miles in each direction, making it near impossible for anyone to be within the accident vicinity.
The incident immediately caught the attention of the mainstream media, dubbing the tall man dressed in black the “Angel Priest”. Taking this mystery a step further, over 70 photographs were taken at the accident site during the rescue, none of which has an image of the “mystery priest.”
The publicity sparked an outpouring of support for Lentz as individuals across the county prayed for her recovery, believing that an angel dressed as a priest intervened to save her life.
It was later discovered the “Angel Priest” who prayed aloud with Lentz and the emergency workers was an Irish Catholic Priest named Patrick Dowling, who coincidentally came upon the horrific accident. However, the fact that he was able to maneuver his vehicle within a restricted area without being detected has yet to be explained.
Both Lentz and Father Dowling held an emotional reunion after Lentz was released from the hospital.
“I was just so thrilled he was there,” Katie told FoxNews.com about her meeting with Father Dowling on the same day she celebrated her 20th birthday. “I thanked him for being there (at the crash scene) that day and he said he was very happy I could walk with my walker.”
She said there were no tears, but they exchanged a warm handshake and he sat next to her on the sofa in her family’s home in Quincy, IL, while they chatted.
“They were just very happy to see each other,” said Katie’s mother, Carla Lentz. “She said she was so grateful he’d been there and he offered a prayer.”
Could it be that divine intervention placed Father Dowling in a direct path to the accident site on that fateful day? Of course, we’ll never truly know, which brings to mind an old tried and true proverb, “The Lord works in mysterious ways.”