The story seemed too impossible to believe: A teenage girl gets into a horrific car accident, and as emergency crews worry the end is nearing, a mystery "angel" priest appears to pray over her, and she survives.
That is what happened to 19-year-old Katie Lentz earlier this month when she was hit by a drunken driver on Sunday, Aug. 4, along a Missouri highway. She was barely clinging to life and yet managed to pull through after receiving an unexpected visit from a priest who some were calling an "angel."
News of the mystery priest spread like wildfire after emergency workers revealed the man disappeared after they freed Lentz. Some thought it was divine intervention, but the priest was later revealed to be Father Patrick Dowling, of the Diocese of Jefferson City, Mo.
On Wednesday, CBS affiliate KHQA aired an interview with both Lentz and Dowling about the incident.
"I haven't come to the full realization either that I had a near-death experience. It hasn't hit me yet," Lentz said. "I had no idea what state my body was in at that time, and they all knew."
Despite the two-mile perimeter blocking the wreckage, Dowling arrived to pray beside Lentz after she had asked for those surrounding her to pray aloud.
"I was coming from 8:30 mass," he said in a segment aired on ABC's "Good Morning America" Friday. "I saw this line of cars. One of the rescue workers said to me, 'We need all the help we can get' ... Let's remember that this was Almighty God who loves that little girl so much."
Dowling previously spoke to the National Catholic Reporter and was humble about the response.
"God loves us, He is here close to us, and when we're in trouble, He's there," he said. "I try to be a priest, not a hero. And I did what a priest does. And every priest that I know, if they would pass by an accident, they would stop and do what I did."
Lentz is currently recovering from her injuries, which included a broken femur, tibia and wrist, nine broken ribs, a lacerated liver and a ruptured spleen, her mother previously revealed on Facebook.
"It is hard sometimes, but I realize that so many people have been touched by this," she told KHQA. "So I have to keep focused on the good and not bad, because it'll just bring me down, and I definitely don't want that."