POSEY COUNTY, Ind. -- A Marion church’s youth minister died and several others were injured in an accident Tuesday involving a semi-truck and a church van in Indiana.
Christopher S. Williams, 28, of Marion was taken to Deaconess Hospital in Evansville, Ind., where he died from his injuries, according to Steve Lockyear, Vanderburgh County chief deputy coroner.
The church van was heading westbound at 7:43 p.m. on U.S. 64 near the Illinois/Indiana border when one of the van’s tires blew out, causing the van to spin out of control and hit and flip over a semi-truck.
The van contained six passengers, including Williams. Three of the passengers were injured, but are in stable condition; one suffered critical injuries; and another is dealing with bumps and bruises and emotional trauma from the accident, Bryce Parks, pastor of LivingStone Community Church, said.
The truck driver was air lifted to a hospital, according to Indiana media reports.
Last month, Williams became the youth minister at LivingStone Community Church. The church completed work at a rescue mission on Monday in Evansville and had spent Tuesday at Holiday World before traveling home.
The group stopped for supper and hadn’t been on the road more than 15 minutes before the accident occurred, Parks said.
Parks was driving the group’s lead van and saw the accident through his rear-view mirror.
“It’s one of those situations that you do not expect to see,” Parks said. “It’s amazing how quickly life can change. Literally one second everything was normal, and the next second lives were forever changed because of a freak accident that wasn’t anyone’s fault.”
Williams has a one-year old daughter and his wife is pregnant with their second child.
“He was a fantastic, godly man who cared about the children and youth here,” Williams said. “He had a great, willing spirit and a servant’s heart.”
Williams, who had previously served as interim youth minister at Third Baptist Church in Marion, died performing his life’s mission.
“He was a living witness to the truth of Christ to the very end,” Parks said. “In fact, it wasn’t 25 minutes before this happened, he was leading a devotional at Wendy’s at suppertime.”
Andrew Nippert, youth minister at Third Baptist Church, called Williams a close friend and ministry partner.
“Chris lived life to the fullest because he lived life in relationship to his God,” Nippert said. “He had an obvious love for life, people and his Lord. You couldn’t interact with him without seeing that.”
Williams’ mother-in-law, Pam White, said she couldn't have had a better son-in-law.
“He was every mother’s dream for her little girl to marry,” White said. “He was an incredible daddy ... That happy child lit up a notch when her daddy walked in the room.”
He and his wife Aimee were always on mission, even spending their honeymoon on a mission trip to Zimbabwe.
It’s been a tough year for the family. On Feb. 12, Aimee miscarried a child and two days later Aimee’s father, Sam White, died on Valentine’s Day. The family is filled with questions, but they are facing those questions with faith that God sees a “bigger picture” than they do.
“This is not going to make us bitter,” White said. “It’s going to make us better because it makes us realize how much we depend on the Lord.”