'Angel' priest suddenly appears at the scene of a serious accident

CENTER, Mo. - Residents of Center, Mo. want to thank a higher power that came to their aid at a car crash on Sunday.

Friends, family and rescuers of a 19-year-old woman are trying to find a priest who suddenly appeared on the scene of a terrible crash on Missouri 19.

Rescue crews spent 45 minutes trying to get Katie Lentz out of her car after another car crashed into her head-on, but the metal on her older model Mercedes dulled the fire department's equipment.

About one hour into the rescue, Lentz told the rescue workers she wanted to pray out loud with them. At that moment, a priest showed up out of nowhere.

"He came up and approached the patient, and offered a prayer," said New London Volunteer Fire Dept. Chief Raymond Reed. "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 it was said, but myself and another firefighter that was beside me, 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 arrived on the scene right after the prayer with additional equipment and was able to free Lentz. She was flown to a nearby hospital and suffered broken bones, including her legs, where were "very damaged."

When the rescue workers turned around to thank the priest, he had disappeared.

The highway had been blocked for a quarter of a mile during the 90-minute rescue, leaving no bystanders and no parked cars nearby.

Lentz's family and friends are amazed by the story.

"Where did this guy come from?" said Travis Wiseman. "We're looking for a priest and so far, no one has seen him. Whether it was a priest as an angel or an actual angel that came in and wearing the priestly attire, he was an angel to all those and to Katie."

"We would like to find this gentleman and be able to thank him," said Reed. "We have a lot of tools that allow us to do many things, and we have intensive training. In this particular case, it is my feeling that it was nothing more than sheer faith and nothing short of a miracle."

KHQA-TV reports the driver of the other car, 26-year-old Aaron Smith, has been charged with a DWI, second degree assault and failure to drive on the right half of the roadway.

The identity of the priest remains a mystery as of Wednesday evening.

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