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Accident Victim's Request Leads Sherriff to Question Beliefs

Richard was mortified when he arrived to the scene of a car crash and the dying driver asked him to pray out loud—he didn't know how. This led him to confronting the emptiness he felt, and he realized what he was missing. Read Transcript


Traffic was stopped, and I actually

drove right up to the remains of this green Mercedes.

And it was on its side with the roof facing me as I pulled up.

NARRATOR: On August 4th, 2013, deputy Richard Adair

of the Ross County Sheriff's Department in Missouri

responded to an accident involving two

cars in a head-on collision.

It was obvious that this was a really bad accident.

It wouldn't be surprising if it was a fatal.

The girl, the driver, Katie all I could see

was the top of her head and one hand that was sticking out.

I actually held her hand, and talked to her,

and tried to calm her.

NARRATOR: But none of his training

or 30 years of experience prepared him

for what came next.

She said she wanted to pray out loud,

and then I became mortified.

NARRATOR: Richard had grown up in church,

but to him a prayer was just an empty ritual

to a far away, uncaring God.

I didn't know how to pray out loud.

I knew, you know, the Our Father, I knew the Hail Mary.

I didn't know how to pray out loud.

That, for me, personally, it was mortifying.

Curtis White, the gentleman there,

I asked, can you pray with her?

Yes, no problem.

And he took her hand and I made the excuse

to go check the other driver, in the other vehicle.

NARRATOR: The other driver suffered minor injuries,

but had been drinking and charged with a DUI.

As for Katie, it took fire crews two hours

to safely cut her out of the tangled wreckage

and put her on a chopper to the nearest trauma unit.

Meanwhile, Richard couldn't stop thinking about the young woman,

who despite being in excruciating pain and holding

onto life, continued asking people to pray.

Katie never screamed.

She never cried out loud.

She never cursed.

She never was angry.

All she did was pray out loud.

And I just couldn't believe that as a 57-year-old man how that

young girl had that much faith in God, and I didn't.

NARRATOR: That's because over the past year

Richard had been trying to come to terms

with the disappointments and failures in his own life,

and was searching for meaning and purpose.

You know, I wanted to go to church.

I guess I was looking for something I was missing.

NARRATOR: Then later, Richard and his wife Debbie visited

Katie and her family at Blessing Hospital in Quincy, Illinois.

I looked at my wife, and I said,

I can't believe how happy everybody is,

like, it's almost like we're at a birthday party.

And her mother looked at me and said,

we could be planning a funeral right now and Katie's alive.

And because of God's grace Katie's alive.

NARRATOR: Finally, Richard understood what

he had been struggling with.

I was missing a relationship with God.

I had no relationship with God.

NARRATOR: Soon afterwards, Richard and Debbie

went to a local church service.

I knew it the first time I was there

and we were talking about God and Jesus,

and it just-- it clicked.

I don't know how to explain it.

It just-- I knew at that moment.

It was like someone opening your eyes for the first time.

NARRATOR: In the coming months, Richard

started reading the Bible and praying.

As he did, he came to understand and accept

God's love and forgiveness.

During that time he committed his life to Jesus Christ.

I realized that I had to become right with God

and correct things.

I had to let go of anger that I held against others

and just let it go.

It's not for me to judge.

It's over.

Release that.

Let it go.

NARRATOR: As he grew in his relationship with God,

the people he felt he needed to share

his new faith with the most were his children.

I never even talked to my own children about God.

I mean they went to parochial schools.

They did all the sacraments that our religion

had you do-- things I failed to teach them, and that was hard.

It's not easy go to your children, your grown children

and saying, "Hey, I messed up.

I did know God and didn't know how to show you who God was."

NARRATOR: As Richard lived out his faith,

Debbie and his children also made a commitment

to Jesus Christ.

Harry, I'm a 53-year-old man who's 30 years as a cop,

and I'm filling up because it's emotional.

And it is.

It's hard to explain.

It's sometimes hard to put into words.

God used Katie that day, and her suffering.

NARRATOR: And it's all because of a young woman, a stranger,

who had the faith to pray.

It's a simple-- prayer is just talking to God,

and having that relationship to be able to do that.

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