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With the 'Mystery' Priest Saga Solved, Crash Victim Who Survived the Horrific Wreck Is Speaking Out
Rev. Patrick Dowling has been identified as the so-called "mystery" priest who arrived at the scene of a car wreck earlier this month. (Photo credit: KHQA-TV)

With the 'Mystery' Priest Saga Solved, Crash Victim Who Survived the Horrific Wreck Is Speaking Out

"I haven't come to the full realization that I had a near death experience."

It was a story that captivated the nation. A so-called "mystery" priest arrived at the scene of a chaotic car crash in Center, Mo., anointed the victim and then seemingly disappeared.

Was he an angel, a patron saint or just a hero who slipped in and then out amid a hectic rescue. It turned out that the Rev. Patrick Dowling belongs in the third category. But what about Katie Lentz, the 19-year-old crash victim at the center of the accident? Where is she now after her near-death experience?

Katie Lentz survived a horrific car wreck earlier this month. (Photo credit: KHQA-TV)

As TheBlaze previously reported, the crash took place Aug. 4, after Aaron Smith, 26, struck Lentz in a head-on collision. Authorities claim that Smith was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash.

While much was made about the difficulties authorities had in freeing Lentz from her vehicle and the peace and calm that the then-unidentified priest brought to the situation when he "mysteriously" appeared, Lentz herself has avoided much of the spotlight.

KHQA-TV is changing that, however, with special broadcasts set to air highlighting the teenager's story of survival and recovery -- one that has been anything but easy.

KHQA reported the accident has profoundly changed Lentz's life. After suffering more than a dozen broken bones, she has had to suspend her studies at Tulane University, where she is gaining the skills to hopefully become a dentist.

Lentz is now spending her time relearning tasks she once performed with ease, like putting on her shoes, KHQA reported. She's making leaps and bounds, however, walking 150 feet down a hallway without stopping, just weeks after the accident -- a major improvement in her psychical capabilities when compared to earlier this month.

In an interview with the station, the young woman, speaking from Blessing Hospital in Quincy, Ill., spoke candidly about her experience.

"I haven't come to the full realization that I had a near-death experience," Lentz told KHQA. "Every day is different though, because some days they really work me hard, and I'm so sore afterwards."

Here are some highlights of the broadcast:

While others might complain about such a difficult plight, Lentz said she's managing and that everything is "tolerable" and "going pretty well." Rather than getting down or depressed due to her most recent life changes, Lentz said she's inspired by the letters and support she's received from strangers across the country -- individuals who heard about her story and wanted to reach out.

She's remaining strong and using their words of wisdom and kindness as encouragement to continue her difficult recovery process.

Lentz is also thankful for those who helped her at the scene of the accident, telling KHQA that if it weren't for emergency crews and Dowling, the crash could have come to a far more tragic ending.

You can see some of the priest's comments about the incident, below:

"I know how hard it was for me, and I can't even imagine how hard it was for them. I had no idea what state my body was in at that time, and they all knew," she said of the first responders and the faith leader who helped her. "They had to work around many obstacles getting me out of the car, so I'd just like to say thank you to all of them for staying calm. And their calmness kept me calm as well, too, so I cannot express my gratitude enough toward them."

Of her experience, Lentz added that faith was key to her survival -- and she's now encouraging others to realize that they can have the same life-sustaining beliefs as well, as she clung to her faith in the Lord to make it through.




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