The Death Roll – Seat Belts and Angels

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

My car rolled several times in what is called the “death roll” and then flipped over on its top. The police and EMT’s said I should have been killed.  What saved my life?  Seat belts or angels?

The Death Roll

On my way home from work one day I had set my car on cruise control.  This helps me avoid speeding as sometimes I unintentionally get a little lead footed on my way home after a hard days work.  This day was nothing special.  I was listening to a Christian radio station where pastors give sermons 24/7.  As I was driving home, I suddenly saw a van back out of a driveway onto the roadway about 40 yards in front of me.  He must not have seen me backing out like he did and so I slowed down my car and flipped on my left turn signal quickly so I could pass him on the left hand lane which had no oncoming traffic visible.  As soon as I had started to pass him on the left, he suddenly turned into the next driveway.  I had to make a split-second decision.  Since I had no possible way of stopping in time, I thought, should I t-bone the van, hitting the driver on the driver’s side or should I take the ditch, thereby avoiding seriously injuring or killing the driver.  I choose to take the ditch.  When the van had backed out of the driveway, I was sure he must not have seen me because surely he wouldn’t have pulled out in front of me like that and his not seeing me was validated because as soon as he backed out of one driveway, he turned left heading into the next driveway, crossing over into the left lane of traffic.  This was further evidence that he must have never seen me because why would he pull out in front of me and then turn left directly into my path had he seen me coming?

I took the ditch to avoid t-boning the van and when I did, the slope of the ditch caused me to turn sideways and then my car went into what is called the “death roll.”  This is where a car rolls over and over on its side. Our church elder says that the funerals are primarily reserved for those who swerve to miss something or someone rather than just hitting what‘s in front of them.  My car rolled several times and then hit an embankment and flipped head over heels onto its top, directly in the middle of the highway, resting upside down.  I was pinned, being upside down, and the seat belt was nearly impossible to undo because my weight was pushing on it and I could not reach behind me to unclick the seat belt.  It was not until someone came to force my driver’s side door open where I could swing my feet out to the side where I could reach behind me and undo the seat belt.  When I did, I could only manage to crawl out of the vehicle due to intense pain at the time.

Seat Belts and Angels

I have never wanted to be a hypocrite and tell the church to wear seat belts and then I not do it.

While I was telling the ambulance driver what had happened, my first response was anger. I was mad that when the driver had backed out of the driveway he had obviously not looked because he quickly turned left into the next driveway.  He was a vacuum cleaner salesman, from what I learned, and he was doing door-to-door sales, going from one house to the next and so he must have been preoccupied by his canvassing the houses on the highway that I was driving down.  The EMT’s told me that had I not been wearing a seat belt, I would have been killed.  My car was totaled.  I later saw my car in the tow truck driver’s parking lot and it was a twisted heap of metal that after I saw it, I could not believe that I had survived.   On the way to the ER of the nearest hospital, my body had just gone through a great deal of trauma.  I had broken ribs, a bruised sternum, torn cartilage or muscle fibers and a huge chunk taken out of my scalp that required several staples to close my wound.   My bowels shutdown too for a full 7 days and I have since lost significant weight but I thanked God that I was still alive. The EMT’s, one of the local police staff, and the ambulance driver all said that I should have been killed.  Had I not been wearing my seat belt, there was no way that I could have survived and they believe it was a miracle that I had survived even wearing my seat belt.

The EMT’s told me that you must have had an angel riding with you because when a car goes into what is called the “death roll” so many times, there often are no survivors.   I have a mark across my upper chest where the seat belt was that held me but I have this strange mark that was just below the seat belt and looked to be about the size of a human hand.  This is where my sternum should have hit the steering wheel but for some reason, it didn’t  It was like I was being restrained by an unseen hand.  I can remember as I was rolling in the car that my wife might be a widow and my children would now be fatherless but something seemed to have steadied my body and it seemed to me that it was more than a seat belt.

A Time to Be Born, A Time to Die

I believe in angels because I believe in God.  God has said,All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be (Psalm 139:16).   In Job 14:5  it is written that Man’s days are determined; you have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed” and “Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment (Hebrews 9:27).  Indeed, there isa time to be born and a time to die (Ecclesiastes 3:2a). God is omniscient and He knows the exact moment of our birth and the very second of our death as the Psalmist wrote, My times are in your hands (Psalm 31:15a).  My time was obviously not yet. God is sovereign over all, including the number of our days and beyond all that we try to do with beauty creams, natural foods, and exercise, God determines our beginning of life and the ending.  We can not extend it but we can not end it anytime sooner than God already knows.  Was it an angel that helped save my life?  I may only know the answer to that after Christ’s return.

One of the very first things that I heard from my wife, the ambulance driver and since the accident, from many of my friends was this statement: God is not done with you yet.”  I can’t tell you how many times that I heard that expression that apparently God has something else for you yet to do.  That is the great thing about the gospel.  While a person is still capable of drawing a breath, they have the ability of being saved if they are not already a Christian.  For everyone that is still alive, God is still giving you a chance to come to Him to place your trust in Christ, and if you are already saved, He may be giving you more time to share the good news with your family, friends, co-workers, or your next door neighbor.

Don’t Tempt the Lord

I have never wanted to be a hypocrite and tell the church to wear seat belts and then I not do it.  Whether it was an angel or a seat belt or both that saved my life, the law says that we are to wear seat belts and Christians are to follow mankind’s laws where they don’t conflict with God’s laws.  The fact is we are commanded to follow the laws of the land (Romans 13:1-5) and the law says that we are to wear seat belts.   More than that, they more than double a person’s chances for surviving a fatal crash.  I believe we tempt the Lord when we break the laws of the land.  The laws of gravity, inertia, and force can not be compromised anymore than God’s laws and God commands us to obey those who are in authority over us and the authorities tell us to wear seat belts.  Romans 13:1-5 states:

Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.  Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.  For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same.  For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.  Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake.”

Take a look at these other articles by Pastor Jack:

Resources:

New International Version Bible (NIV)
THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide

YouTube video: “Angels Unaware” by Michael W. Smith



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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

James Wilkes January 2, 2013 at 6:04 am

This reminds me of a story I saw on television where a small child was being interview with his parents. He was about 3 years old & while at motel & staying on the 7th floor he managed to go through an open door & unto the balcony. Before his parents could get to him he climbed the rail & fell over landing on the concrete parking lot below with no injuries. The little boy told the man interviewing him that the angel caught him. He did not beleive it & said that his pamper had probally filled with air & broke his fall. The little boy replied “No I told you the angel caught me!” Of course the man doing the interview did not believe the frustraded child because the man would not beleive him! God still has angels out there who do show-up at times just because God is trying to get us to listen to Him! I do listen to Him & believe on His Son Jesus Christ & at Mt. Carmel Baptist Church in Atlanta we do believe in the Spiritual gifts! Thank You Rev. Wilkes Associate Minister.

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Andy Anderson January 2, 2013 at 12:48 pm

Great news

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Josh January 2, 2013 at 9:49 pm

Thanks so much for sharing Jack. God is truly not done with you yet! This story is just a reminder of how we all need to be ready at any moment. Only God knows when our last day here on Earth will be.

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Pamela Rose Williams January 3, 2013 at 10:08 am

Is it selfish of me to say I am glad God spared you and left you here for a little while longer? Truly and inspirational true story Jack … thank you for sharing.

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Robert January 3, 2013 at 6:42 pm

Wow…what a story, Jack.
Thank God (very much) that he saw fit to bring you through all that. I’m sure He has things planned for you. I am so glad you are here with us, brother.
Yours in Christ,
Robert

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Patricia Schneider January 3, 2013 at 7:00 pm

Wow, Pastor Jack! You truly experienced a miracle on that fateful day. (Angels and seat-belts.) May I share an experience that happened to me during the late 1960’s? I was driving on the Pennsylvania turnpike to Washington D.C. after spending the week-end w/family. Though my Dad had warned me NEVER to pick up hitchhikers, a sailor w/his duffel bag over his shoulder, was thumbing for a ride. I stopped, asking where he was heading. Maryland. Figured he was a serviceman, what harm could it be, right?
Well, I was driving for about an hour (it takes 4 hours from
Pittsburgh to D.C.) There was a truck ahead of me, so I
went to pass him. For some reason, the sailor grabbed the
steering wheel! My car went around the front of the truck, up onto the side of turnpike, back onto turnpike facing traffic. All I could see, Pastor Jack, was 2 sets of headlights…the car was out of control. Then and there, I said to Jesus, “It’s in Your Hands now, Jesus!”
Instantly, (it seemed,) the car was on the ramp, still facing traffic. There was silence between the sailor and me for several minutes. Then I exploded~”What the he** did you think you were doing grabbing the steering wheel like that?”
He thought I was going to hit the meridian guard as I was
passing the truck!?! Oh, Pastor Jack, I was livid, not realizing the miracle that had just happened (that occurred many years later.) Gave the sailor a good(?) scolding, had to make a u-turn to get back into traffic, dropped him off somewhere on the Maryland belt-line. NEVER again did I pick up a hitchhiker~. So, it’s true…only God knows when our time here on earth is up. Please continue praying for me. God bless you, Pastor Jack! Patty

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Jack Wellman January 3, 2013 at 10:05 pm

Patricia….we are often visited by angels unaware and they can appear as an average Joe. My thought is that you had a miracle and since God knows the very day of our earthly departure, He was not obviously done with you and I thank God that He brought you to us.

Amen, will pray for you. You are such a blessing to me personally Patty.

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Stephanie Mata January 4, 2013 at 1:19 am

Ths reminds me of something that happened to me when I was but 19 years old. I was in a really bad four-wheeler accident in which the brake handle broke off into my leg when I flipped, ripping a hole into my inner thigh and coming within centimeters of my femel atery. I landed upside down in a small ditch, having miraculously missed two culverts- one of which was deeply shredded, rusted and jagged. I was nearly an hour away from any hospital, lost in a over a hundred acres of woodland. The friend who was with me had never been there before, was lost and had no idea where to find help. Left alone, I prayed… I felt that if it was my time, then I was ready. All the sudden… I felt an indescribable peace. I say it’s indescribable because it is… The only word I can think of that comes close is “divine”. Then… I heard God’s voice in my ear as a calm whisper. “It’s not your time,” He said. …and I knew I would be ok. I felt nothing… no insect bites, no pain… only peace. When my parents reached me they thought for a moment that I was dead because I was laying there in complete stillness. I hate that I scared them so badly… but I am thankful could open my eyes to them. The EMTs thought I had two broken arms, a broken leg, broken ribs, internal bleeding in my chest and head on top of the gash in my leg. I told them I was ok but I couldn’t move for the pain was immense… My face was covered in insect bites and my pants had to be cut off my body before transport. When I awoke in the hospital the next day, they told me I had a hundred stitches put into my leg and only a mild cut and some swelling. They were stunned that I was alive- even moreso that my injuries were so minor. I wasn’t. I knew it was my guardian angel who kept me from “dashing my foot against a rock” when I fell…. and I knew it was the Lord who held me as I layed there alone in the dark.
It wasn’t my time. I am 35 now and a proud mother of three.
The Lord speaks- you only have to listen.

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Carolyn January 4, 2013 at 2:31 am

I agree… it was not your time….. and you have helped me dear brother!! I love reading your articles since I found this website. Thank you for helping me with your inspiration.

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Nicholas January 16, 2013 at 4:45 am

I sure know just as there are demons , and Lucifer to lead me to sin , there are certainly the good Angels to help us , the song He could have called 10,000 angels , he actually could have called , what was it 12 legions of angels , many more than 10,000 actually , and I know without a shaddow of doubt as dumb as I am , GOD has known the precise time to act , the place , etc. , I am presently having my old human problem way of waiting again , certainly need prayer from you all please to trust and obey !!!!!!

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Patricia Schneider January 16, 2013 at 11:26 am

Hello, Pastor Jack! This is for Nicolas (January 16, 2013.) OK?

Hello, Nicholas! Be assured that MANY folks are praying for you, as I am, too! (And STOP thinking of yourself as ‘dumb!’ You just might start truly believing that, then you will close yourself to new knowledge, especially important stuff from Scripture! Think about that~!) (I tend, at times, to think I’m DENSE, ’cause it takes me awhile to understand some things. But many loved ones have assured me that I’m not, and so I’m trying my best to believe in myself more. You try to, Nicholas. OK?)
Thanks for sharing your comments with WCWTK, Nicholas!
Look forward to hearing more from you!
Oodles of blessings for the New Year, 2013, for you and your family, Nicholas! Patty

More blessings for you, Pastor Jack, and your family! Patty

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Jack Wellman April 9, 2013 at 12:50 pm

Thank you for your question. We do have some guests write articles here. If you are interested, and it sounds like you are, please click on this link and ask if you could possibly be a guest writer for an article or more. Click at:

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Mar November 16, 2015 at 5:04 pm

I would like to address the issue of wearing seatbelts. Before I became a Christian I ALWAYS wore my seatbelt. After I became a Christian I went to live with a Christian couple. The woman never wore hers, and talked a lot about faith and trusting God for protection… I was foolish and naive and I innocently, not arrogantly began to believe God will protect me. I stopped wearing my seatbelt, and you can probably guess what happened, of course.
She got into a crash turning left. I remember throwing my hands up to block my face as it hit the wind-shield. Fortunately we all recovered. For a long time after little bits of glass were coming out of my forearms and forehead. All I could do was look back and think how stupid I was. I mean I ALWAYS wore my seat belt before I was saved. Anyways I’m grateful that God did protect me despite my stupidity. If I just obeyed the law…

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