Accident Victim Facing Death Has One Request

“I don't remember the actual impact,” said Katie. “ But I do remember the sensation of moving.  And that's when my car rotated, before it came to rest on its side.”

On August 4, 2013, 19-year-old Tulane University student Katie Lentz, was on her way to church, when she was hit head on by a drunk driver. Katie, who was pinned in her car remembers talking to one couple who stopped to help.

Katie said, “I remember asking them is this real life?  Is this really happening?”

Then she made a simple request.

“I asked them to pray out loud.”  

Katie would make the same request to everyone who came to her aid.  One of them was Deputy Sheriff Richard Adair of Ralls County, Missouri, the first emergency responder to arrive. Not a praying man himself, he didn’t think it would matter.

Richard said, “Honestly I never thought she’d walk again, let alone survive.”

But Katie knew her life depended on others praying.

“I couldn’t pray out loud the way I was used to and the way I wanted to because I was weak, my body was in pain,” said Katie.  “And so I needed other people to do that for me.  And that gave me that encouragement.”

Emergency crews arrived to find the car lying on the driver’s side with Katie still trapped.  She was badly hurt and bleeding, but there was little they could do until they got her out of the car.  New London Fire Chief, Raymond Reed.

“Shawn McCort from the New London Fire Department, he was inside the vehicle with her, to maintain her c-spine and prevent any further damage,” said Raymond.

By now, AIR EVAC life team from Blessing Hospital in neighboring Quincy, Illinois was en route.

Meanwhile, Katie’s mom, Carla, got the call from state police.  

She said, “This is a very serious accident, I need you to prepare yourself, and I need you to hold on to your faith.”

Immediately, Carla, and Katie’s dad, Ed, started praying and getting word out that their daughter needed prayer.

“People all across the city, people were starting to get calls even into the churches, they didn’t know the circumstances except Katie Lentz was in an accident,” said Ed Lentz.

When AIR EVAC life team arrived flight nurse Dusty Wheeler took over monitoring Katie’s vital signs.

Dusty said, “We had a hard time checking blood pressures and getting to her. We needed to get her out of the car because her skin was getting cooler, damper, and it was a lot harder to feel her pulses.”  

“Then an hour into the rescue, a piece of equipment failed. They had to dispatch the Hannibal Fire Department who had the equipment they needed.  But they were 30 miles away.  

New London Fire Chief Raymond Reed said, “We were close, we were so close.  But it seemed so far away.  Because we couldn’t make those final cuts and get the dash and steering column out of her lap.”

Flight nurse Wheeler reminded Chief Reed what was at stake.

She said, “If we don’t get her out soon she’s going to die.”

Chief Reed said, “We needed to make a move and do something and we needed to do it quick.”

Meanwhile, bystanders and rescue teams had responded to Katie’s request, and were praying out loud.  Katie says those prayers gave her hope.

“I never thought I was going to die,” said Katie. “I thought that they were just going to get me out.”
She continued, “I didn't know how long it was taking, but I thought I was going to be alive.”

Then finally, The Hannibal Fire Department arrived with the jaws of life. Rescuers gently laid the car over on its wheels, they made the last cut to free Katie.

Katie said, “That was the first time my legs had been moved. When they pulled me out the pain was excruciating.”

By the time the chopper landed at Blessing Hospital, Katie was stable but still bleeding and in critical condition.  Orthopedic trauma surgeon, Rena Stewart, was waiting. Xrays showed how badly Katie was injured.

Dr. Stewart said, “She had both of her femur bones, her thigh bones broken.  One in two places, terrible break.  Her tibia bone, her shinbone on the right side was an open or compound fracture.  Meaning the bones were sticking out of her leg, literally.”

But Katie had got there on time and held on long enough for Dr. Stewart and team to stop the bleeding and set her broken bones. She still needed prayer as she faced multiple surgeries and months of rehab.

Her father Ed said, “The pain that she had to endure, that was the hardest because I wish I could have taken it.  That was the hardest.”

As Katie and her family hung onto their faith and prayer, others in the hospital took notice.

“That’s where I really see her faith having an impact,” said orthopedic trauma surgeon, Dr. Rena Stewart.   “I never got the why me, and I feel sorry for myself, and I get to be angry at the world for this and it’s a terrible thing and it happened, but their faith brought them peace within.  And that impacts everything.”

Katie said, “I believe God gave me supernatural peace.  The officials told me I never cried, screamed or got hysterical, and I believe that the Holy Spirit was with me to guide me and reinforce that within me.”

Dr. Stewart was thrilled with how the bones healed.

“That’s just gorgeous healing, it doesn’t get any better than that.  Any orthopedic surgeon would be thrilled to see that.”

Katie has since graduated and is working for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. She’s thankful for the heroic efforts of the men and women who helped save her life; they say it was Katie’s faith and prayer that helped change theirs.

“The commitment she had to God that day it made me think man, if someone in that situation can stay that loyal, what’s my excuse?” said New London Fire Chief Raymond Reed.

AIREVAC flight nurse Dusty Wheeler said, “In these times when all you hear are bad stories, man it’s really nice to hear the good ones, people out there that have that relationship with God and have that good family relationship and strength.”

And Ralls County Deputy Sheriff Richard Adair, who at first didn’t believe Katie would survive, added this, “And it was a realization she made it, God saved her.”

“Prayer is an aspect – and prayer is the aspect in every area of my life, you know, whether that be work, whether that be school, relationships, family, prayer is the center of it all because ultimately god is the center of my life,” said Katie.

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