A 19-year-old girl was trapped after a head-on collision with a suspected drunk driver. As rescue workers struggled to free her, something happened that defies explanation.
Chief Raymond Reed of the New London Fire Department told reporters, “He came up and approached the patient and did offer a prayer. It was a Catholic priest. We very plainly heard that we should remain calm, that our tools would now work and we would get her out of the vehicle."
Lo and behold, that's exactly what happened. Katie Lentz was freed from her vehicle and flown to the hospital by helicopter.
But what about that mystery priest? He never appeared in any of the rescue photos shot on the highway in Missouri, leading people to wonder, was he an angel from above? It made for worldwide headlines.
Some wondered if he was the spirit of the late Catholic St. Padre Pio, who was said to have healing powers.
Now, the mystery has been solved.
Meet Father Patrick Dowling. That's right, Father Dowling, as in The Father Dowling Mysteries, that popular series starring Tom Bosley.
This Irish-born priest says he was driving on a highway when he came upon the accident, and stopped to help and heaven help any priest who wouldn't do the same thing.
“You do it! You offer your services as a priest! if I were in an accident and a priest drove by I would get him for that," said Dowling.
So why didn't Father Dowling appear in any of the rescue photos? Well, that part of the story is still a mystery.
Dowling said, "I didn't hide. I just stood there, waiting and praying."
Katie Lentz is recovering from broken legs and ribs. Father Dowling visited her in the intensive care unit, and says she started to cry when he introduced himself.
Dowling said, "I think it was the most disappointing moment of all, that I wasn't an angel or something."
Well, he might not be an angel but he is really something and that's no mystery.