QUINCY, Illinois (KHQA) - Rescue workers are still scratching their heads over the identity of a mysterious 'angel priest' who inexplicably appeared at the scene of a car crash.
The priest appeared after emergency officials had been working for about an hour to free a teenager from the smashed car. Police said the situation looked bleak before the priest came "out of nowhere" to pray with the crash victim.
"He asked to anoint the girl in the car. My first thought was that it would possibly send the wrong message to Katie that maybe we had called a priest and thought she wasn't going to make it," Ralls County Sheriff's Deputy Richard Adair said. "So I went back and talked to the priest and told him we were worried she would think we'd given up hope. He said, 'I just want to anoint her' and so we just let him come up to the scene."
Witnesses said the priest anointed the teen and the rescue crews with oil and prayed with them. He asked them to remain calm and their efforts would work.
Soon thereafter, a neighboring fire department pulled up with fresh equipment and freed the girl. After getting her into the air evac helicopter, rescue workers said the priest was gone.
Fire Chief Raymond Reed said his department took about 80 photos of the scene and the priest did not appear in any of them.
The Diocese of Jefferson City said it has not located the priest involved.
"Out of respect for the privacy of any priest who may have been involved and does not wish to come forward, the diocese does not plan to further investigate this incident," the Diocese said in a statement. "The Diocese is grateful that a priest was able to exercise his ministry in this manner and requests prayers for healing of the victim, as well as prayers of thanks."
The crash victim has been upgraded from critical to serious condition. Police arrested a 26-year-old man accused of DUI in connection to this crash.