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Review

God Defies Doctors in Bicycle vs. Truck Tragedy

Corey Bauman had great faith in himself, but little faith in God until a tragic accident placed his life totally in God's hands.

When a pick-up truck going about 40 miles an hour hits a bicyclist racing downhill at 35 miles an hour head on, there’s typically only one result — a dead cyclist. Corey Bauman was no different. 

Bauman, 41, was an avid cyclist. He’d regularly ride 30 miles in and around his Lakeport, California, community after work every day and then do a century (100 miles) ride on Saturdays. And he wasn’t sight seeing on these rides — he and the members of the cycling club he belonged to pushed each other to excel. 

On Sept. 29, 2015, Bauman and his cycling partner, Nick Thompson, were preparing for the Konocci Challenge — a 104-mile race around Clear Lake, the largest natural lake in California. That day, they decided to tack on a few extra miles to help get them ready for the endurance event. 

As they were racing down a hill with Bauman in front, a pick-up truck suddenly went far beyond the centerline and hit Bauman head on, then Thompson. The truck sped off while the two cyclist were left bleeding and unconscious on the ground. 

“Corey’s head (and helmet) impacted the hood of the truck, leaving a huge dent,” says Shannon Bauman, Corey’s wife of 20 years. “Then his body struck the windshield, shattering it, before he was tossed about 20 feet, landing on the road. Nick was also hit, and was left unconscious on the road, but Corey took the head-on impact.” 

When Shannon arrived at the hospital, due to the amount of blood covering Corey’s face, no one was sure if it was him or not. After Shannon described Corey’s wedding ring to a supervisor, she was able to confirm it was him, but no one knew his true condition. 

“They knew it was really bad,” Shannon says. “But no one could give me more information about the severity of his injuries, so I just put my head down and prayed — ‘Please keep him, please don’t let him go.’” 

Shannon had more than one reason to pray this way. In addition to her love for him, Shannon also knew that Corey didn’t have a relationship with Christ. Even though she was a believer, having been brought up in church, Corey was at best, ambivalent towards God. “He didn’t believe we needed to serve God or go to church in order to receive eternal life,” Shannon says. “We didn’t talk about religion much because it would just cause us to fight.” 

Shannon would be permitted to see Corey long enough to give him a kiss on the ear and whisper encouragement to him, and then he was taken by helicopter to the Santa Rosa Trauma Center, about a 90-minute drive away. When she arrived, Corey was cleaned up, intubated (an air tube down his throat to his lungs), chest tubes had been inserted to drain his lungs, and was in a non-responsive coma. 

Hours later, the doctor would come into Corey’s room where Shannon waited while Taylor (then 15) and Macie (then 13), were now asleep in the waiting room. 

“He brought in a chair and sat in front of me,” Shannon recalls. “He told me they had run their tests. All of Corey’s main arteries that supply blood to his brain had been dissected — all four of them, the internal carotid and vertebral arteries, had been severed. He told me to prepare for him to never wake again, and if he did somehow manage to survive, he would be nothing more than a vegetable.” 

When Shannon parents, Del and Chris Edwards, arrived at the hospital, she met them at the nurses’ station and burst into tears — Corey wasn’t going to make it! 

“What my mom said next changed everything,” Shannon says. “She hugged me, and said, ‘Oh no, Shannon. This is not over until God says it’s over!’ It was like, oh yeah, God is in control!” 

The Edwardses are longtime members of Lakeport Christian Center (AG). When they learned of Corey’s accident, they called the church and the prayers for Corey began to multiply. 

“We got word out to the church family, and we began praying and interceding immediately,” says Ruth Suski, who pastors Lakeport Christian Center with her husband Mike. “We prayed that God would defy the doctors’ diagnosis.” 

Later that night, doctors would set Corey’s arm, as the radius bone in the forearm had broken and punctured the skin. Shannon would later learn that Corey suffered several strokes due to the hemorrhaging in his brain and they had placed a drain down the middle of his brain to drain cerebral spinal fluid to help reduce the swelling. Scans showed no signs of brain activity, due to the lack of blood from the compromised arteries. 

Yet the following morning, the lead neurosurgeon came to Shannon. He was puzzled. The CT scans confirmed the arterial damage. “He’s getting enough blood to his brain, but we don’t know where [the blood] is coming from,” he would tell her. 

Despite this, doctors were pessimistic at best. But Corey was a candidate for a stent to be placed in the damaged left carotid artery. He would be air lifted to the University of California San Francisco hospital. It would be more than three weeks before Corey was stable enough to have the operation. During the operation, the surgeons would discover the miraculous truth — Corey’s right carotid artery had no blood flow, his left was only profusing blood at 5 percent, and the combined vertebral artery was only at 3 percent! 

“That was a miracle all in itself!” Shannon says about the fraction of blood somehow maintaining Corey’s brain. However, doctors now warned her that the chances of Corey being able to talk, much less walk, didn’t exist. 

Yet the surgery went well, though Corey was still in a coma and highly sedated. He was also given a tracheotomy (a tube inserted into neck for breathing rather than down his throat) and survived blood clots to his legs and lungs during this period, caused, ironically, by an allergic reaction to the blood thinners he was placed on. 

Meanwhile, after praying with the Baumans in Santa Rosa, the Suskis felt led that the church should do something for the family. They decided to do a spaghetti meal to raise some funds, but more importantly, to come together as a community to pray for Corey and the family, as the reports on Corey were grim. 

“We just wanted to do something small, hoping that a few people would come,” Ruth Suski says. “But then I heard the Holy Spirit say, ‘You think you can do something small, just stand still and see what I can do.’” 

Within four days, all the costs for the meal were covered as people within the small community volunteered services, food, and supplies. Professionals, teachers, law enforcement personnel, the district attorney, and everyday community members attended — with somewhere between 500 and 1,000 attending, praying, and signing a huge card for Corey. 

On Oct. 25, about a month after the stent operation, Shannon, her parents, and the Suskies prayed over Corey for him to come out of his coma. Less than an hour later, Corey started to return to consciousness! Two days later, as Corey continued to emerge from his coma, he was transferred to Kentfield Rehabilitation Hospital. However, doctors now warned Shannon that the strokes Corey had experienced affected the part of the brain where vision, personality, and long-term memory were. 

The following six months are a blur for the Baumans as Corey would be in a series of rehabilitation hospitals from Oct. 27, 2015, through April 30, 2016. But during this time, family members and the Lakeside Christian Church family continued to express their love and commitment to the Baumans. Shannon’s co-workers also donated their paid time off so for the entire nine months she received a paycheck. And most importantly, during a visit with Corey at a rehab center, Del Edwards, Shannon’s father, would lead Corey to Christ. 

But how could what doctors diagnosed as a “vegetable” ever be led to Christ? Not a problem — at least not for God! Today, Corey maintains conversations, walks, takes rides on his in-home bike trainer, has no problem with long-term memory, and is as competitive with himself as ever. 

“Yes, he has a ways to go,” Shannon says. “But cognitively he’s at about 80 percent, and improving every day. Physically, his left arm is still a work in progress, but through therapy, new neuro-pathways from the brain to the muscle have been created and he’s starting to be able to use it again.” 

The Baumans — Corey, Shannon, Taylor, and Macie — have also all devoted their lives to Christ. Corey, with the family in agreement, wanted everyone to know that their commitment was serious. So on Dec. 11, 2016, all four of them were baptized at Lakeside Christian. 

Corey says that through the accident his family has become much closer, and he credits them for inspiring him in countless ways. “This experience has also taught me to have faith and a love for God,” he states. “I know God is King and always by my side.” 

The transformation isn’t just lip service to church friends, either, which was made evident at the sentencing of the driver who struck Corey and Nick (who escaped brain injury and has almost made a full recovery). 

“As each of the family members got up and spoke to the perpetrator, nothing but love and forgiveness came out of them,” Pastor Ruth says. “Not one showed anger or bitterness. Not only did this have an impact on the judge, the perpetrator, and the families represented, but there were also about 20 other prisoners sitting there awaiting their sentencing, and some were crying as they listened to the family speak. It just goes to show that God’s love reigns supreme.” 

“It’s been a complete 360 — our life, our perspective, it’s just amazing,” Shannon says. “Our life is 100 percent better now than it was before [the accident]. It’s fulfilling, peaceful, just knowing that God has it all under control.” 

The Bauman’s daughters agree, and both Taylor and Macie cite how the family has become so close. 

“My whole family's life has been changed forever, in many ways that are unexplainable,” Taylor says. “It has been a rough time, but in the end we have all come out stronger than anybody could imagine, and the bond between our entire family is unbreakable . . . we have never been so close!”  

And with those same thoughts echoing in Shannon’s mind, there exists one prayer, that with tears of gratitude, she vividly remembers: 

“The day Corey was hit by the truck,” Shannon says, “I had prayed that morning that God would bring our family closer together, and I remember thinking, God, how great that would be . . . 

And it is.

IMAGE - Corey (center, red shirt) receives prayer before his baptism. 

Dan Van Veen

Dan Van Veen is news editor of AG News. Prior to transitioning to AG News in 2001, Van Veen served as managing editor of AG U.S. Missions American Horizon magazine for five years. He attends Central Assembly of God in Springfield, Missouri, where he and his wife, Lori, teach preschool Sunday School and 4- and 5-year-old Rainbows boys and girls on Wednesdays.