The Knoxville News Sentinel has a gripping interview with a man who survived a motorcycle crash that killed his friend.
The East Tennessee newspaper's lede sets the scene:
Mice and chipmunks scurried across Kevin Diepenbrock's body as he lay immobile on the earth beneath "The Dragon." As a seasoned outdoorsman, he listened to the sounds of the night and knew something bigger lurked in the darkness – he feared a bear.
The day before, Diepenbrock and Phillip Polito, his riding companion and co-worker at a natural gas plant near Philadelphia, Pa., tumbled more than 100 feet down a rocky embankment after their motorcycles collided on a notorious stretch of U.S. Highway 129 near mile marker 4 called "The Dragon."
Polito, 29, of Perryville, Mo., was killed in the Oct. 15 crash, and the 41-year-old Diepenbrock — with two punctured lungs, 17 breaks in 12 ribs, and multiple spinal fractures — could barely move.
"Phil reminded me of me, a younger version of me," Diepenbrock said on Monday, sitting up in a chair at the University of Tennessee Medical Center. He was doing much better, he said: he had managed to walk a couple laps around the room that morning.
"There wasn't a whole lot of seriousness between us," he continued. "We'd always joke around and clown around and stuff like that. Phil could bring people together. He was just a character."
Due to the steepness of the embankment, Diepenbrock, Polito and the two motorcycles were flung out of sight, hidden from the many motorists who get a thrill from the road's sharp curves and scenic views. Every time Diepenbrock heard the exhaust of a passing motorcycle, he called out in desperation, but no one could hear his voice.
Go ahead and read the whole story, and the News Sentinel shares more harrowing details about the 30 hours that Diepenbrock spent beneath the embankment — with no cell phone signal and afraid he'd die before anyone found him. He recorded videos on his cell phone to say goodbye to his wife and parents.
What's religion got to do with it?
The News Sentinel saves that angle for the very end — after a woman and her date pull over for a drink, hear Diepenbrock yelling and help rescue him:
Diepenbrock called his rescue a result of divine intervention.
"I'm a religious person. I've been raised that way. When all the circumstances come together, when you're talking about being down there for 30 hours... It's not a very scenic area. There's no reason why a person would stop there just to get a drink. There's other places where you can stop and oversee the valley. ... There's a lot of things that just shouldn't normally have happened that happened. I honestly think God has a plan for me, and he has a plan for other people. It's unclear what the purpose is, but it worked out."
Here's the question for you, kind GetReligion reader: Is that the right amount of religion in this story or not? Comment below or tweet us at @GetReligion.
My opinion: It's not enough. Readers want — and deserve — to know more about his specific faith background and what he believes.
I mean, a journalist wouldn't quote someone as saying "I'm an athlete, so I believe my training played a crucial role in my survival" without providing more explanation of what sport the person plays and in what setting. Right?
Video screenshot of Kevin Diepenbrock via KnoxNews.com