19-y-o North Dakota student who survived near-fatal crash was found praying at wreck
Broden Frolek, a 19-year-old North Dakota State University student who suffered multiple fractures and brain injury after a near-fatal crash last fall, says he now prays multiple times a day as his family credits God with saving his life.
“I just feel like God did everything perfectly for him to be able to recover like this,” Broden’s mother, Tonia Frolek, told The Forum in a recent interview about the Nov. 28, 2020, crash that left the second of her 10 children in a coma for 11 days.
A release from the North Dakota Highway Patrol said the crash occurred at about 8:35 p.m. on Nov. 28. Broden was driving his 1997 Pontiac Grand Prix westbound on Highway 11 when the Pontiac veered off the roadway and entered the north ditch.
“The vehicle struck an approach and began to roll. The Pontiac came to rest in a slough on its top. The driver was located several hours after the crash, around 11:55 PM,” the report said.
Broden was found a short distance from the vehicle and was airlifted to Sanford Medical Center in Fargo with significant injuries.
A Caring Bridge page created by Broden’s family members explained that among his injuries were severe brain trauma with multiple contusions and bleeding sites on his brain, a broken rib and a fibula fracture.
The teenager, who lived with friends in a house near North Dakota State University, told The Forum that three hours before the accident, he had left his parent’s home in rural Lidgerwood to watch an Ultimate Fighting Championship match on television with some friends but can’t remember much of what happened after that.
“I remember what I was doing earlier that day,” he told the publication, “but I can’t remember stepping a foot into the vehicle.”
He would wake up 11 days later at Sanford Medical Center, where family and friends have been trying to help him fill in the gaps.
His cousin, Mason Falk, 21, told The Forum that he went looking for Broden after learning he was missing and found his overturned car along the highway.
“Broden was north of the car about 10, 15 feet in a little spot, about 5 by 5 feet, on top of the ice, surrounded by the cattails,” Falk recalled. “It was the only bare spot all around.”
Falk, along with his roommate, Devan Round, a nursing student, called 911 and began checking for injuries on Broden, who had been praying the Lord's prayer even though he wasn’t conscious of it.
“He wasn’t conscious, but he was speaking. It sounded to me like Latin,” Falk said before explaining he soon realized what his cousin was doing.
“He was praying the ‘Our Father,’ just little bits. So I knelt down and started praying with him,” Falk recalled.
He said he was worried his cousin would have had to amputate his leg and was concerned about other issues like hypothermia, but later learned that they found no signs of that condition.
“It was like God was watching over him the whole time,” he said.
Tonia Frolek told The Forum that she is convinced that God protected her son.
“I know by faith he was not there alone,” the tearful mom said. “The fact that he was lying in the only dry area is a miracle in itself.”
Even though she doesn’t see her son as more religious than the average believer, Broden has continued praying the Lord’s Prayer daily through his recovery and said that he has grown in his faith since the accident.
“Before the accident, I was sometimes rude to my siblings. I was going to mass on Sundays, but it wasn’t enough,” Broden told The Forum. “Now, I pray four or five times a day, and for other people too.”
And while he doesn’t recall praying on the night of his accident, Broden said his prayer just came “automatically” because he had been taught since childhood that “When you’re in trouble, pray, and God will keep you safe and healthy.’”