A Lexington man and his three sons were killed in a crash in Texas on Saturday, and the man’s wife and daughter were critically injured, their pastor said.
Israel Avelar and his sons Kevin, 17; Daniel, 14; and Matthew, 6, died after a crash near Carthage, Texas, Saturday morning, said Pastor Jeff Fugate of Clays Mill Road Baptist Church.
Avelar’s wife, Hilda Avelar, and daughter Kimberly Avelar, 11, were in critical condition, he said. Fugate said Israel Avelar’s mother, who is from Chicago, was also traveling with the family and was injured, but he said she is expected to recover.
On Sunday, Fugate said the hospital tried to perform facial reconstruction surgery on Hilda Avelar, but they had to stop because her injuries were so severe that a specialist was needed. But, Fugate said, “She is improving.”
Fugate said all the children were students at Clays Mill Road Christian Academy.
“These are fine kids,” Fugate said.
He said the Avelars were in Texas to visit family and were on their way home when the crash occurred about 10:15 a.m. Saturday on Texas Hwy. 315, radio station KGAS reported.
The station said the family’s GMC Savana van had slowed down in traffic for a vehicle turning off the highway in front of it when the van was struck from behind. The collision pushed the Savana into the path of an oncoming 18-wheeler, the station said. The Texas Department of Public Safety is investigating.
Fugate said the couple’s older daughter, Bibiann Avelar, is in her early 20s and works as a secretary at Clays Mill Road Baptist Church. He said she had stayed behind in Lexington but is now traveling to Texas to be with the family.
He said the family has “been in our church for at least 15 years.”
Fugate said Israel Avelar had recently helped Clays Mill plant a Spanish-speaking congregation in the area but the family attended Clays Mill Road Baptist on Sunday nights and Wednesday nights.
“They’re a part of everything,” he said.
Fugate said he hopes to travel to Texas within the next few days. Funeral arrangements are still incomplete.