During the early evening hours a few weeks ago, I received a phone call from a missionary telling me that two others serving in his city had been "side swiped" while riding their bikes to an appointment. They were riding along a very wide shoulder of a normally busy highway. Immediately I was uncomfortable with the news. I knew that someone may accidentally "side swipe" one missionary along the roadway, but I found it difficult to understand that two missionaries could accidentally be side swiped.
The missionary continued to tell me that the biking missionaries (I'll refer to to them as Jones and Smith from now on) were being attended to by paramedics and that they had some scrapes, but they seemed to be OK. Their bikes were ruined.
My husband and I felt that we should make the hour long car ride to check on them that very evening. We called them as we left McAllen and they told us that they were on their way to the police station to be interrogated. We told them to tell the police their story and that we were on our way. We would meet them at the station.
As we pulled up to the station, we noticed that a man was being taken away in hand cuffs. We entered the building and immediately found Elder Jones in the waiting area. We could hear his companion, Elder Smith, in the next room answering questions from the police. He used words like, "it just didn't make any sense." As we sat with Elder Jones, we were able to put together more of what had actually happened.
As the two missionaries were riding along the roadside, they had come upon a green truck stopped at a stop sign-making no effort to move on even though his path was clear. Elder Jones was in the lead, but when he saw the stopped truck, he began to wonder what was going on. He slowed down, but his companion didn't. They were now riding side by side.
When the driver had both elders in his view in the front right side of his truck, he accelerated away from the stop sign and turned into them. He picked up Elder Smith (still on his bike) and carried him on the grill of the truck about 50 feet. The initial impact slammed Elder Smith's helmeted head against the hood of the truck. When the truck stopped and Elder Smith came down, the truck ran over his bike and (miraculously!) only Elder Smith's foot was still caught with the bike. Somehow, Elder Smith was able to fall backward to keep most of his body from being run over, but by doing so, his head took another blow against the pavement. The truck sped away.
"...for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up..."(Doctrine and Covenants 84:88)
Elder Jones was so shocked at seeing what was happening to his companion that he is still unable to say exactly how he ended up with his pants torn from the waist to the knee and the front rim and tire of his bike bent and ruined. It is my theory that when the truck accelerated, Elder Jones and his bike were swiped and hit by Elder Smith's bike, causing the damage.
After the police finished questioning Elder Smith, it was 11:00 pm. We knew that we needed to have some medical personnel look over the missionaries. Elder Smith was limping quite badly and as we had now learned the entire story, we knew that he may need immediate care. We put them in our car and took them to the local bishop's home- who also works as a physician's assistant.
The Bishop looked at Elder Smith and noted that his pupils were not the same size. We looked and could confirm the unequal pupils- a sign that there may be some sort of bleeding in the head. We returned to McAllen with both elders and checked Elder Smith into the Emergency Room. President Trayner and Elder Jones gave Elder Smith a priesthood blessing while waiting for the physician to arrive and treat him.
When the doctor arrived, both of Elder Smith's pupils were normal and he showed no signs of head trauma. Since Elder Smith hadn't been knocked unconscious, the doctor could see no reason to order a CT scan. An x-ray of Elder Smith's foot showed no broken bones. His foot was seriously bruised, but would heal.
The missionaries benefited from the kindness and concern of a watchful and concerned citizen who had witnessed the crime. As the injured missionaries lay on the roadside, the witness stopped and told them that he had called 911 and had the license number of the truck.
We later learned that the man we saw being taken away from the police station that night was the man that had targeted the missionaries. He was drunk. His truck was impounded, and we could see a dent in the front and a broken headlight that occurred when he hit the missionaries. We harbor no hard feelings toward him and we pray that he may overcome the challenges in his life that have brought him to make this kind of a choice.
I know that angels were watching over these missionaries. When Elder Smith got in our car, he commented, "Wow! That could have been so much worse!" My eyes filled with tears and I said a silent prayer of thanks to my Heavenly Father for His watchful care and love.