The Six-inch Drop

The trip had started out like hundreds of others. Lorie Torbeck, of Appleton, Wisconsin-with the help of her teenage daughter, Eryn----had buckled the seven children who attended Lorie's home day care into their seats in Lorie's big Chevy Suburban, in preparation for a quick trip to the high school. "Eryn was a cheerleader, and it was yearbook picture day for the team," Lorie says. "The kids and I had made this quick trip dozens of times." Now, as they were driving along a narrow stretch of highway, a white panel truck came toward them. Lorie moved over a few inches, onto the shoulder, to give the truck ample room to pass. But as she tried to return to the highway, her tires became stuck in what was a six-inch drop from the concrete to the gravel shoulder. The vehicle began to fishtail.. "Hold on!" Eryn screamed. The van rolled over.

"Dear God, not now--the children are with me!" Lorie remembers her silent plea, as the van rolled a second time. Immediately she heard a voice saying, "Don't be frightened. God is with you and you will all be all right." She also had a vision of angels sitting on the children's laps, wrapping their arms around each little one. "An overwhelming sense of peace came over me," Lorie says,and she was able to relax even as the truck became airborne and flipped twice more, then came to a rest upright on a grassy incline.

The sudden silence was horrifying. Lorie had heard the children screaming as they rolled, but now all was silent. She was afraid to turn around and look, and instead fumbled for her cellphone. Where was it? Suddenly everyone was crying again. Cars above them were stopping, and someone waved his cellphone. "Call an ambulance!" Lorie yelled to him, then turned to help the children. Amazingly, everyone was alive, and she flew into action, pulling back two of the boys who were attempting to scramble through the broken windows, then passing four of the preschoolers through to bystanders who had come to help. Eryn unbuckled Makayla, the screaming baby, from her carseat---she had probably saved Makayla from serious injury by wrapping herself around the baby as the van rolled. As the second-to-last child was removed, it suddenly occurred to Lorie that the van might roll again! And three-year-old Cody was still inside, too far for her to reach him! "But the people would not! Let me crawl back to reach him," Lorie recalls. "I had to wait until the police arrived, and they got him out."

Wearily, Lorie climbed the hill. Good Samaritans had, by now, set all the children on a blanket, and were keeping them comforted and safe. Lorie did a quick exam, and discovered that four had escaped all injuries except bruising from their seatbelts. The other three had glasscuts on their arms (they eventually received stitches) but nothing more serious. As the ambulances arrived, she was able to examine herself, and realized that she had severed an artery in her head, causing her to be covered in blood, as well as a broken vertebra. Her ponytail had been completely torn from her head, and was found later in the grass. "The first policeman told me later that when he arrived on the scene and saw the damage to my truck, he expected to be pulling bodies out of it," Lorie says. "No one could believe that none of the passengers was seriously injured." Later, Lorie discovered that an aunt of hers who lived seventy miles away had been moved to get down on her knees and pray! For a relative who was traveling. The feeling came upon her at 3:30 pm, the exact time Lorie's truck began to roll.

It was a miracle. It had to be. But a few days later, Lorie recognized its full extent. One of the boys had an announcement to make. "There were angels in our laps in the truck that day," he told Lorie matter-of-factly, then ran off to play. Before she could react, another child told her the same thing. Lorie remembered her vision---an angel in each child's lap, shielding and protecting each little body---and the calm voice which assured her that everyone would survive the accident. She had not mentioned this experience to anyone except Eryn, and yet the children knew. She gives thanks each day for this gift.

Joan Anderson Copyrighted by Joan Wester Anderson, used with permission. Originally appeared on the Where Angels Walk website, .

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