The family, friends and rescue workers want to thank a priest who played a role in helping save the life of a teen involved in a car wreck, but no one seems to have any idea how the cleric got to the scene and how he disappeared.
The Missouri Highway Patrol said Katie Lentz’s vehicle was struck head-on after Aaron Smith crossed the center line. The 19-year-old Lentz was trapped in the crushed car on Missouri 19 near Center, Mo.
New London Fire Chief Raymond Reed said rescue crews spent the first 45 minutes after the accident trying to get Lentz out of the car, but were unsuccessful.
"It was a very well-built car, and when you compact materials like that one, they become even stronger because you're cutting through multiple things instead of one layer," Reed said, according to KHQA.
Reed says Lentz was pinned in between the steering wheel and the seat. After 45 minutes passed, medical workers told rescue crews that Lentz was failing and fast. That's when Reed decided to move the car, which was standing on its side, back on all four wheels.
About an hour into the rescue, Katie asked rescue workers to pray out loud with her. That's when a priest appeared out of nowhere.
"He came up and approached the patient, and offered a prayer," Reed said. "It was a Catholic priest who had anointing oil with him. A sense of calmness came over her, and it did us as well. I can't be for certain how it was said, but myself and another firefighter, we very plainly heard that we should remain calm, that our tools would now work and that we would get her out of that vehicle."
The Hannibal Fire Department showed up right after that prayer with fresh equipment and was able to remove Lentz from the car.
Officials are still scratching their heads over the priest, who they say appeared out of nowhere. Perhaps more mysteriously, the local fire chief said he does not appear in any of 80 photos from the accident scene, according to Fox News.
Lentz' family and friends say they would like to locate the priest, so they can thank him for helping make the rescue possible.
However, the Diocese of Jefferson City says it has not located the priest involved and does not plan to search for him.
Smith, the driver of the other car in the accident, has been charged with DWI, second degree assault and failure to drive on the right half of the roadway.