Appearance of Jesus at accident scene inspires ministry


By Melissa Nordell

Garison Steele, 14, High School picture taken not long before the accident
Garison Steele, 14, High School picture taken not long before the accident

Garison Steele, 14, was a budding actor with a big heart for evangelism. Concerned that all of his friends would accept Christ, Garison had prayed for months that his friend Troy would visit his family’s church in Porter, Texas. Troy accepted Garison’s invitation, partly to return many favors Garison had shown him.

At the end of the  service at Joyful Sound Church, Troy came forward to accept Christ as his personal savior. Garison was ecstatic, and after the service the boys asked if they could go to a local gas station less than a mile from the church. “I told him he better drive safe,” Garison’s mother, Betsy Steele, told Troy. “He was carrying my life with him.”

It was Garison’s first ride with a young, non-family driver. Garison remembered he forgot to say goodbye, and rushed back to the church, told his mom he loved her and kissed her on the cheek.

It seemed to be taking a long time for the boys to return, so Betsy and Garison’s Aunt Jeannie phoned Garison on his cell phone — but there was no answer. Alarmed, Betsy and Jeannie got into Betsy’s car and traced the route Garison would have taken to the gas station.

The two sisters soon saw fire engines and other first responders a short distance from the church. Behind the fire engines was a lone car wrapped around a tree, which happened to be in the front yard of the house where Pastor Betsy and Garison’s father had been married.

Betsy tried to get to the vehicle as soon as she recognized it, and she screamed for police to let her see her son. However, the police restrained her because both boys were killed instantly in the horrific crash.

First responders and neighbors began to ask Betsy, “Who was the third person in the car?”  Several people reported they had seen a third person when the car crashed. But there were only two boys in the car! Betsy, Jeannie, and Grandmother Sally are convinced that third person was Jesus Himself.

Perhaps both boys were carried to heaven in His loving arms.

Investigators determined that Troy lost control of the vehicle when he hit a culvert at a high rate of speed, then the vehicle went airborne. The speedometer inside the vehicle was stuck on 84 mph.

“The boys both wore their seat belts, and alcohol and other drugs were not factors,” Betsy said. “It was just a young driver with his friend in the car making a bad decision.”

Like many parents, Betsy had no idea that car accidents were the leading cause of death for teens. However, statistics show that crashes account for more teen deaths than suicide and homicide combined. Drivers aged 16 to 19 are three times as likely to crash as more experienced drivers.  And carrying passengers exacerbates that risk. Only one teen passenger can increase crash risk by 48 percent.

After a few years of healing, Garison’s grandmother, Sally Pritchard, senior pastor of Joyful Sound Church, felt the Lord calling them to do something about these statistics. Betsy wants to not only to save lives, but to reach out and tell others about the saving love of Jesus Christ.

They soon joined the Teen Safe Driving Coalition and the HEARTS Network, both established by The Allstate Foundation and the National Safety Council.

They also started a driving school, along with a “Garison Steele Safe Driver Elite Award,” a scholarship aimed at steering teens in the right direction. The scholarships award teens who demonstrate safe driving based on recommendations from adults, writing a winning essay on responsible driving, and demonstrating a good example for their peers.

“Parents need to prepare their teens and make sure they demonstrate good driving habits,” Betsy said. “Even good teens make bad choices, and one wrong decision could take their teen forever.”

They hope the scholarship will save lives and honor the memory and testimony of Garison. At an annual church ceremony in his honor, Betsy testified that Garison “carried the light” of God’s love “everywhere he went and many hearts were changed.”

Betsy says that at first she wondered “why God would want me to go outside the church, but then one day while worshipping, I felt that God said I would reach teens that would never set their feet into a church and I would be able to show and demonstrate God’s love, joy, and peace to those teens and their parents, and that is what happened.”




  1. It is hard to understand how God works a times but He knows what He iS doing. All we need to do is follow. It was tertulian an early church Father who rightly said ” the death of a martyr is the seed of the Church.” see Job chapter 1 with special note of the last verse. May god’s comfort and strength surround these parents at this time. In Jesus’ name I pray.

  2. When things happened we don’t understand the only thing to do is look to God. A scripture that brings strength to me is Prov. 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will direct your paths. Because even though I hit bottom – the bottom was solid it was built on the rock of Jesus and He will direct our paths. Remember we the joy of the Lord is our strength so if we lose our joy we lose our strength, if we lose our strength we lose the battle, so no matter what we are going through we have to praise our God and He gives us the strength to get through all things. Praise God!!!!

    • Losing my closest dearest best friend has truly made a change in my life I never would imagine living my life with out him he was my life and he will continue to always be as sun comes up I can only pray for my god family to have peace for with out them I would have gave up 12 years ago

  3. When things happen we don’t understand lean on God and He will bring us through. It is great to read story’s that inspires us to seek a deeper relationship with God.

  4. Garrison And Troy are both Angels! I believe what happened, will help other teens and their parents about safe driving. Every time I get behind the wheel I pray for safe travels and that Garrison And Troy Helping guide me. I love you and miss you Both everyday. Even tho you are not here in this life, you are still helping others. I feel blessed to have know you both.

  5. I’m not sure if you remember me Betsy. I went to The Joyful Sound Academy as a child. I was fairly young but I cherish the memories I have with your son. Whether it was laughing in class or four wheeling at lunch, we always had a blast. He was the epitome of a role model to me and Jeremiah. I honestly feel that, he was just to precious that the good Lord needed him back. I hope y’all have found some peace with his passing. Know, you are and forever will be in my prayers.


  6. Greetings
    I Sarfraz Tomas from pakistan. I have studied your web site, and I found it the most wonderful site to get right to the True Word of God. My suggestion for you is to create your material in my language of Urdu, Punjabi, Hindi, Pashto, Sindhi, Sraiki, and Balochi also. It will bring lots of blessings of the Word of God for the Pakistani and Indian Urdu and Punjabi and other local languages speaking people. For that purpose, I as a translator will bring your material into my languages and into Indian language as well. I will be printing and distributing your material to my people around me. Although it will take your low expenses as well, as fund for the Word of God to reach out to the deserving people. I my self, work on a local radio station also. Many times it becomes difficult for us to keep doing this because of being minorities and because of the lack of the financial resources. I will wait for your response.
    Sincerely yours
    Sarfraz Tomas

    • You may notice we offer Google translate on the upper right of every page.
      This service will translate Urdu, Punjabi, and Hindi, but not the other languages you mention.
      Thanks for your offer. At this time, we will rely on Google translate’s services.

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