A routine traffic stop ended in prayer earlier this week when State Trooper Ross Bates heard that the couple had experienced a death in the family.
According to KHOU, Lanell James, a middle school teacher, was driving from Conroe to Dallas with her husband, Lamar to be with family after Lamar’s brother died unexpectedly. As they drove through a small town, Bates pulled them over for a non-speeding violation.
Bates asked where they were heading, and she told him about her brother-in-law’s passing.
“He said, ‘Oh, I’m sorry to hear that, do you know where he is?’” Lanell explained. “My husband answered, ‘Yes, at the morgue,’ and [Bates] responded, ‘No, he is now in his heavenly home.’”
His reaction caught the couple off-guard. When he returned with a warning, the state trooper asked if he could pray with Lanell and Lamar and then removed his hat and held their hands while he prayed.
“I have never had this happen before, but it was everything that we needed in that moment,” Lanell said. “Thank you so much, Trooper Bates, for praying with us. There’s just so much in the news with the negativity and the police killings and the racial tension—it’s a lot.”
Early Sunday, Lanell & her husband were driving to Dallas. Her brother-in-law was killed in a crash.@TxDPSSoutheast Trooper Ross Bates pulled her over.— Melissa Correa (@KHOUmelissa) December 17, 2019
She explained situation.
He gave her a warning... and a prayer.
Can't wait to take you behind the photo on #khou11 at 5 pic.twitter.com/2KqRhaO9OH
The 16-year Texas DPS veteran was honored to pray with them. He sent a statement to KHOU, saying:
“I am humbled that my actions had a positive impact on their lives during this difficult time. As a State Trooper, I’ve met many people who have shared their stories with me. Often, I don’t hear about the impact I’ve had on them. I am truly humbled by the kind words of Mrs. James, and I will always be grateful that our brief interaction had a positive impact on their family.”
Bates recently became an ordained deacon at his church and keeps a Bible on top of his center console.
Mikaela Mathews is a freelance writer and editor based in Dallas, TX. She was the editor of a local magazine and a contributing writer for the Galveston Daily News and Spirit Magazine.