A Baptist pastor and his three sons were killed, his wife and 11-year-old daughter were critically injured Saturday morning after their car was rammed by an 18-wheeler truck in Carthage, Texas.
Israel Avelar, 46, and his family were driving home after celebrating his graduation from a local Bible college when the freak road accident happened. His 17-year-old son Kevin was the one behind-the-wheel of their blue GMC Savana.
Their car had slowed down for a vehicle turning into a residence off Highway 315 when another car struck them from behind, pushing their car into the path of an 18-wheeler truck.
Fellow Pastor Jeff Fugate, of Clays Mill Road Baptist Church, confirmed that Avelar, his sons Kevin, Daniel, 14, and Matthew 6, were killed instantly. His wife Hilda, 41, daughter Kimberly, 11, and mother Lazara Abaraca were taken to the hospital.
Avelar was the pastor of Temple Baptist Church in Lexington. He received his diploma in Pastoral Theology and Christian Leadership from the Instituto Biblico Bautista Libertad (Freedom Baptist Bible Institute).
"It was quite a mess of an accident, probably the worst I've ever seen, several fatalities and several people injured and a lot of the vehicles that were involved you couldn't even really make out what kind of vehicles they were before the accident happened," a KGAS reporter, Blake Holland, describing the scenario upon his arrival.
Abaraca has been declared out of danger while Kim was scheduled to undergo pelvic surgery.
Fugate said doctors tried performing facial reconstructive surgery on Hilda last Sunday, but they had to stop because her injuries were too severe requiring a specialist.
"He loved his church members. He loved his family. He would always call us. They were all loveable. It's some words that I just can't, to me they were like family, personal family," a colleague of Avelar in the institution.
"I may be a pastor, but I am asking the same tearful questions other people are asking. Why this family that was just a great example of a family that loved and served God? Why all of them? I may be a pastor, but I don't have the answers to those questions," said Tanya Tyler, who is pastor of Chalice Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in London.