In the long hours after a car accident that left one man dead and three members of Adam and Stacy Wessley’s family injured, the prayers of a community have given the family strength.
Shortly after noon on Sunday, the Wessleys had left services at Cross Road Church on south Maize Road. Adam Wessley left in one vehicle and Stacy and their two daughters were in a Range Rover running errands.
As Stacy Wessley and the girls approached the intersection at 13th and Maize Road, a white Mustang, driven by James C. Adams, 39, struck the west curb of southbound Maize Road, south of 13th Street, swerved across three lanes into oncoming traffic and struck the Wessleys’ northbound SUV head-on.
Adams was killed in the accident, Lt. James Espinoza of the Wichita Police Department said Monday.
The Mustang then hit a second vehicle in the northbound lanes. All three vehicles caught fire; witnesses and passersby pulled Adams from the Mustang; Stacy Wessley and her two daughters, Natalie and Britney from the SUV, and a woman from the third car.
Within seconds, someone – a stranger – found Stacy’s phone and called Adam to tell him about the accident, according to Scott Taylor, a family friend of the Wessleys. Within moments, Adam Wessley was at the accident scene.
On Monday afternoon, Taylor told local media that the Wessleys were grateful for the prayers that have come not just from Wichitans but from around the world.
“The family views this as a true miracle based upon where they started and where they are today,” Taylor said. “Adam is doing great. You can imagine having your whole family in an accident and transported to the hospital.”
The family was originally transported to Via Christi Hospital St. Francis. Britney Wessley, 12, was treated and released Sunday evening.
Stacy Wessley, 33, suffered a fractured ankle and vertebrae. She was later transferred to Wesley Regional Medical Center.
Natalie Wessley, 9, suffered multiple internal injuries and remains in critical condition in Wesley’s pediatric ICU.
Taylor said Adam Wessley has been at Natalie’s side since the accident. Both girls were sitting in the rear passenger seat of the Range Rover. Both were wearing seat belts, Taylor said.
“He has been with her since moments after it happened all the way to the ambulance ride and transfer,” Taylor said Monday. “The only time he has not been with her was during the surgery.
“She wakes at different times and is starting to move more. But you can imagine with internal injuries, it will take awhile.”
This is an accident that people around the world have heard about, Taylor said. Through social media – Facebook and Twitter – people have spread the word and asked for prayers for all involved.
The Wessleys, Taylor said, want to say a great “thanks to all the people who sent out prayers, from the time it happened – for people coming down the street, to the unknown people who were there at the site – to all the people injured.”
“I think the biggest thing they would like to say is that this story is more about community and all the people who have come together. It’s about the forgiveness they have shown. The family wants people to know they are praying for everybody involved.”
The girls, Taylor said, are both involved as cheerleaders in Cheer Eclipse and attend school in the Maize school district.
Espinoza, the police spokesman, said “speed was definitely a factor” in the “horrendous” collision. Police are investigating claims on social media that Adams was racing another vehicle at the time of the crash, Espinoza said.
“We’re just trying to figure out the facts,” he said. “Racing or any type of high-speed activity is very dangerous.”
Police located a second vehicle linked to the incident and interviewed the driver, Espinoza said. The man was booked on an outstanding warrant but not on any alleged offenses linked to the collision on Maize Road.