Christian musician who survived 1997 crash returns to La Salle County to perform

McVicker to perform at 7 p.m. Tuesday at St. Patrick Church, La Salle

A Christian recording artist who nearly lost his life passing through the Illinois Valley more than 20 years ago will perform Tuesday at a La Salle church.

Mitch McVicker, a winner of the Dove Award, will perform at 7 p.m. Tuesday at St. Patrick Church, 725 Fourth St., La Salle.

“I hope my concert will raise spirits and direct attention toward the good,” McVicker told the La Salle Catholic Parishes, which is hosting the concert.

McVicker is familiar with La Salle County, having nearly lost his life here but also making a triumphant return after a long and arduous convalescence.

On Sept. 19, 1997, two men were ejected from a Jeep on Interstate 39 south of Route 18. One of them, Rich Mullins, was killed when a tractor-trailer was unable to avoid striking him. Mullins was an accomplished Christian musician whose best-known work remains, “Our God is an Awesome God.”

McVicker was critically injured but survived, thanks in part to Kim Kidd, an X-ray technician who was traveling to Bloomington and stopped to render first aid.

“I could feel that he still had a pulse,” Kidd once recalled. “He wasn’t breathing too well, but he was alive.”

Kidd later made contact with McVicker, but only after a long convalescence in which he had to relearn to walk, speak and, eventually, to sing and play music again.

“He was extremely lucky to be alive,” Kidd said. “Then he had to deal with the repercussions of the fact that his best friend was dead.”

The story took a happy turn, however. McVicker became a successful recording artist in his own right and, at Kidd’s suggestion, returned to the Illinois Valley for a free concert in 2016.