A brother and sister were headed back after a family party when they met with an unfortunate accident that left them on the verge of death. Seeing their children in critical condition, the distraught parents began praying. Not long after, something astonishing happened.
On July 4, 2010, two Missouri siblings, Cecilia and Joe Detwiler, had no idea what awaited them after they left a family gathering. A short time after they left the party to run an errand, Joe was said to have lost control of his vehicle, which slid off the road and hit a tree.
The resulting impact was so sudden and severe that it reportedly left the siblings fighting for their lives. Cecilia noted that the accident occurred not too far away from where she and Joe attended the family function.
When Tragedy Struck
While her loved ones were having a wonderful time grilling hot dogs, Cecilia said they had no idea that she and Joe were dying on the side of the road, only a few minutes away.
Although their kids’ chances of surviving the ordeal were slim, the Detwilers refused to give up.
Moreover, Cecilia said she worried for her brother, who was unconscious and bleeding profusely. Not knowing what else to do, she started praying. She recalled:
“I was praying, ‘Lord, help me. You’re the only one who knows where I am. You’re the only one who could do anything about it, so just help me through this and please, Lord, send somebody to find us.’”
Several minutes later, a passerby found them and called 911. Soon afterward, the siblings’ parents, Mike and Mary Detwiler, hurried to be with their children. Mike said a state trooper on the scene told him and his wife not to go forward because it was too bad.
The Devastated Parents
Mary said she was shocked and devastated by the horrific scene. She recalled, “I don’t know how anyone could have survived that.” Mike said the first responders eventually managed to get his son out of the wrecked car. He added:
“We thought he was gone.”
A distraught Mary said her son’s condition tugged at her heartstrings. “I thought he was dead. He was just lifeless,” she added. The Detwiler couple said the rescue team worked for two hours to get their daughter out safely from the vehicle.
Little Chance of Survival
Both Cecilia and Joe were air-lifted to St. Louis Children’s Hospital. Dr. Jose Pineda, who was among the doctors that monitored Joe, said that his condition was critical and he had a traumatic brain injury.
A broken-hearted Mike recalled that he and his wife were told their children might not make it through the night. While the doctors prepared the parents for the worst, the mere thought of losing their kids was soul-crushing.
A Heartbreaking Sight
Mary said she was crushed when she walked in and saw her two beloved children lying side by side in the ICU. It was an agonizing sight that broke her heart into a million pieces.
Although their kids’ chances of surviving the ordeal were slim, the Detwilers refused to give up. Instead, they began praying. Mike recounted praying:
“Lord, just give them another day. Let me see them one more time just to tell them I love them (sic).”
Prayers & Support
The Detwiler couple said their children underwent intensive treatment to aid their recovery. While Joe remained in a coma, his parents waited and prayed. Mary recollected:
“Everybody was praying for us, and we felt it.”
In addition to their loved ones, the Detwiler siblings received overwhelming love, support, and prayers from people far and wide. For weeks, Mike and Mary saw their lovely children fighting to stay alive.
Mike recalled how his beloved daughter told him that her life was over and she would never get past the accident. But he said he assured her she was not alone and that things would get better.
Almost two months after the harrowing crash, the Detwiler parents said their son began waking up from his coma. However, they weren’t sure about his mental and verbal abilities at that point until something surprising happened one night.
A priest was praying in Joe’s hospital room when he suddenly started whispering at the prayer’s end. The Detwiler couple said they were the very first words that came out of their son’s mouth after the coma.
Surviving the Worst
After that, Mike and Mary said they saw their children recover beyond anyone’s expectations. Given what the doctors had told them, everything seemed surreal, but the Detwilers said they knew God walked with them in the most challenging period of their lives.
Joe said the accident changed him in ways he never thought possible, pushing him to pursue priesthood. In July 2012, Joe and Cecilia’s older sister shared an update on her siblings’ road to recovery and their lives after the crash.
The Detwiler sibling shared that her brother and sister were doing well in life, with Joe excelling at the seminary and Cecilia exploring her many talents, including singing.
In addition to enjoying family vacations, the Detwiler duo also attended a ceremony that rewarded the firefighters who helped save their lives. Looking back on the life-changing, spine-chilling accident, the elder Detwiler sister expressed:
“We cannot go back. But we believe in a God who ‘makes all things new,’ and it is there that we found, and continue to find, hope amidst our brokenness.”
Undoubtedly, the Detwiler siblings’ phenomenal story teaches us that it’s in the darkest times that the light of hope shines through. We pray that they continue to celebrate many happy moments with their loved ones.