In 1981 I was appointed Chief of Police for the city of Cleveland Tennessee. In fact, I became the youngest Chief of Police in the state of Tennessee when that occurred. I felt like I didn’t have to have anybody else's advice or anybody else’s guidance. I just got too big for my pants if you will.
There’s politics involved and I was very bitter. I was a bit mad at myself too because I had given them some things to throw at me. I resigned as Chief of Police and began a position as a security consultant with a private company. I had been in the headlines prior to that. I had made two successful business calls and was driving back toward Chattanooga. I pulled out not noticing a car that was doing about sixty miles an hour in the left lane. It collided with me at my driver's door. I drove my car over an embankment and was trapped in it. I was there until the fire department and medics arrived. They removed me from my car and according to their reports, they found brain tissue, blood, and spinal tissue flowing out of my left ear. They put my skull back together and then put me in the ICU where they deal with the fact that I had thirteen broken ribs. I had a punctured lung and my heart was swelling. So, they put me on a ventilator that kept me alive for the next several days.
On the fourteenth night in the ICU, I remember becoming awake and conscious, looking around and seeing that I was connected to a lot of machinery, a lot of tubes.
There was no one else in the room except I felt the presence of Jesus Christ in that room with me. I feel He was there with His hands stretched out to me. I assumed He was going to take me to Heaven. I remember not praying but talking to Jesus. I remember those words verbatim. I said, “Lord, you’re going to take me to Heaven, aren’t you? There will be no more hurt, no more anger or pain over there. Lord, just take me on. Just take care of my family and I’m ready to go.” I can’t describe to you the peace that I had when I went back to sleep to die expecting to wake up again in His arms in Heaven. It was the most peaceful feeling I have ever felt. He had something else in mind, however, because the night the doctor came and made his rounds, this time he simply lifted up my arm where there was a tube inserted for drainage and he began to pull it out. I said, “Doc what are you doing?” He said, “Son, we can’t send you home with this tube in your chest.” I said, “You mean, I’m going home?” His words verbatim were, “Son, it’s a miracle but we’re going to send you home.”
I believe that night I laid down that anger and bitterness in that ICU room. When I said that, “there will be no more hurt, anger, or bitterness.” I believe that’s what was going on in that ICU room.
I had been the most powerful man in the city of Cleveland and there at the hospital, I became dependent on other people to bathe me, feed me, to take me to the restroom. I had people ask me, “Do you think God caused your accident?” I don’t know if he caused it or just used it. I’m just thankful that it worked out the way it did. In order to know what I know today and have the relationship I have now, I would go back and go through that accident again to be where I am now.