From The Daily Mail: The riddle of the 'angel priest':

  • Holy man appeared from nowhere to pray with trapped girl and rescuers in traffic accident, told them she would be OK and then vanished

  • Katie Lentz was hit head-on by a drunk driver on Sunday morning on an isolated stretch of Missouri highway

  • Emergency workers battled for over an hour to rescue her but they couldn't free her from the car wreck

  • Lentz requested a moment of prayer and a priest appeared - even though the road was blocked off

  • He prayed and told the rescuers that Lentz would now be freed - and she was

  • They turned to thank him - but he was gone

What logical explanation could there be for this?

  • I added an actual question, please check this is what you want to know and edit if necessary.
    – nico
    Aug 8, 2013 at 18:40
  • 3
    > What logical explanation could there be for this? A logical explanation is that the emergency responders failed to secure the accident site, allowing the priest to approach and then walk away on his own.
    – user5582
    Aug 8, 2013 at 18:44
  • 10
    I suspect the answer here is "It's the Daily Mail, and it never happened that way". Asking for possible explanations likely only leads to speculation, but a question along the line of "did this ever happen like the Daily Mail describes" might be okay.
    – Mad Scientist
    Aug 8, 2013 at 19:38
  • 2
    The story contains enough parallels to traditional stories, such as The Vanishing Hitchhiker, for my urban legend radar to start pinging wildly.
    – Oddthinking
    Aug 9, 2013 at 2:52

1 Answer 1


The priest has identified himself as Rev. Patrick Dowling of the Jefferson City Diocese. (FoxNews.com)

Here is the full comment he had posted at the National Catholic Register's original story on the incident (text taken from cnn.com since the comment has since been deleted) (broken into paragraphs by me):

Why he wasn't recognized:

I had Mass in Ewing MO as the regular priest was sick.

His arrival at the scene:

As I was returning, I arrived at the scene. The authorities were redirecting traffic. I waited till it was possible to drive up closer. I parked behind a large vehicle about 150 yards from the scene. I asked the Sheriff’s permission and approached the scene of the accident.

What he did:

I absolved and anointed Katie, and, at her request, prayed that her leg would not hurt. Then I stepped aside to where some rescue personnel and the pilot were waiting, and prayed the rosary silently.

How he left:

I left when the helicopter was about to take off, and before I got to my car it was on its way to Quincy. [...] I gave my name to one of the authorities, perhaps to the sergeant of Highway Patrol, explaining that I was returning having celebrated Mass at Ewing. It was the sergeant who, at the Sheriff’s request, gave me Katie’s name as I was leaving, so I could visit her in hospital—I assumed she would be taken to Columbia.

The comment has since been removed at his request, but he discussed the incident with the National Catholic Register for another story.

About the claim that the preist said "Lentz would now be freed", Dowling says that he did not say that:

“I didn't say another word,” he said. “I did not say anything like the machinery would begin to work or they would succeed in getting her out of the car.” “That did not come from my lips, though two people heard it.”

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