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We Walked Away!

This couple believes in miracles. They rolled and totalled their mini-van, and walked away to tell the story.


On December 15th, 2004 my wife Beth and I were in a horrific motor vehicle accident and by all accounts we should have been seriously injured, if not killed. Instead, by the grace and mercy of God, we miraculously escaped from our demolished 1995 Windstar minivan with no broken bones, no internal injuries involving vital organs and no cuts that needed stitching! God's hand was upon us!

We Walked Away!
Beth and Blair Bartlett

The night before the accident I worked a 12 hour shift and got off work the morning of the 15th. After I had had a nap we departed for a day of Christmas shopping to Moncton, New Brunswick. We had been planning to go there and take my parents along, but the weather hadn't been the best. On the morning of the 15th I hadn't felt like inviting them. God's providence!

I was tired and sleepy, so Beth drove while I slept in the front passenger seat. We were traveling along a four-lane divided highway at about 110 kilometres an hour when Beth grew drowsy because of the heat. She closed her eyes only for an instant, but we drifted across to the left hand shoulder.

Beth wakened suddenly when she heard the sound of gravel beneath the tires, and the impact of the van hitting a metal highway marker. She tried to bring the van under control and veered to the right, but as she did, we crossed both lanes, careened down an incline, and according to paramedic Keith Jarvis, rolled the van once or twice before we hit a rock wall head-on. The distance between the damaged highway marker and the rock wall was about 70 paces. By God's grace, had we travelled another ten seconds further down on the road, we would have gone off a bridge and fallen into a steep ravine. Even so, damage to the van was substantial.

The windshield was shattered and the rest of the windows were smashed. Three of four tires had blown, both air bags were deployed and the van's frame was twisted and dented beyond repair. Our insurance company wrote it off. Incredibly, when mayhem broke loose around us, I didn't see or hear the damage occurring. Neither did I feel the impact when we crashed into the rock wall. To me it felt as if we had simply pulled over and parked!

The only thing I remember is Beth calling my name. When I opened my eyes I saw that we appeared to be so close to a rock-face that we almost seemed to be upon it. I remember thinking that we were going to be killed, but I had complete peace about it. I had always believed that our lives can be snuffed out without warning, because I have known a lot of people around my age that were killed in accidents. I didn't know the majority of them to be Christians, but I had personally always made it a point to be right with the Lord.

The next thing I remember is that we were stopped. I turned to Beth. She had blood on her face. I asked her if she was okay and tried to reassure her. Then I asked her where the cell phone was. We had just purchased one for emergencies. She told me it was in her purse, and I retrieved it. At the same time I saw a man walking toward us. When he reached the van, I handed him our cell phone and asked him to call 911.

While he was calling, I moved around a bit to see if anything was broken. I had a drop of blood on my nose and a few sprinkles on my hands where glass had sprayed. I felt a bit of discomfort in my lower back, but other than that I felt okay. Amazed that we should have survived such an ordeal, I got out and took several photos of the wreckage. Bystanders were concerned that I was walking around, so I sat back down in the van and one of them covered me with a blanket in case of shock. They were also looking after Beth. In hardly any time, the Mounties, the fire department and the paramedics arrived.

I informed one of the paramedics that I had already been walking around, but he advised me that Beth and I should be outfitted with cervical collars, and be strapped securely to spine boards as a precaution. Not wanting to take any chances in case complications, I deferred to their wisdom. We were transported in separate ambulances to the Sussex health centre, about ten kilometres away. The medical team examined us, took our blood pressure, took x-rays, and administered tetanus shots because of the broken glass. The x-rays came back negative, meaning we had no broken bones. They held us for observation for a few hours, and then discharged us basically with a clean bill of health. They did, however, prescribe an ointment for the bruise on Beth's cheek.

We Walked Away!
The twisted mini-van.

We believe we experienced a miracle. Victims in lesser accidents have fared much worse. Since our mishap six people have been killed in four accidents in our area. According to newspaper reports, the most recent was also possibly caused by driver fatigue. It happened minutes from where we had our accident. More chillingly, it happened at the same time of morning ( around 10:30 a.m.), and under similar road conditions.

A friend of ours, a deputy sheriff in Maine, said that anytime he responds to an accident involving a van that has rolled, it is always "bad." Occasionally, he said, they "get a ' breather'" (someone who is still alive). A former nurse and paramedic said she believes we were "divinely protected."

As Christians, we don't always understand why things happen, but we should remember that "God causes all things to work together for good to those who love [Him and] … are called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28).

Beth and I have been Christians since early childhood and throughout the years we have been truly amazed at God's faithfulness toward us. He has kept His loving, protective hands on us throughout our walk with Him. We believe God spared us to witness to His love, and to bring Him the glory He deserves. May our testimony encourage you!

Beth and Blair Bartlett live near Moncton, New Brunswick.

Originally published in Word News, May 2005.

 

 
 
 
 

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