The surviving members of a Lexington family that suffered four deaths and three serious injuries in a crash in Texas May 21 are continuing to recover, their pastor said.
Kimberly “Kimmie” Avelar, 11, was transferred to the University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital on Saturday, said Pastor Jeff Fugate of Clays Mill Road Baptist Church, where the family attended for about 15 years.
He said Kimmie began physical therapy Sunday. Her sister Bibiann Avelar, 22, who works as a secretary at Clays Mill Road Baptist and was not traveling with the rest of the family when the crash occurred, is with her, Fugate said.
“She’s doing good for her condition,” Fugate said of Kimmie. “They’re trying to get her well enough to go to Cardinal Hill” Rehabilitation Hospital in Lexington.
Fugate said arrangements are being made to bring their mother, Hilda Avelar, 41, to Cardinal Hill from East Texas Medical Center in Tyler, Texas, where she was taken after the crash.
Israel Avelar, 46, and his sons, Kevin, 17; Daniel, 14; and Matthew, 6, died in the crash. The children all attended Clays Mill Road Christian Academy.
Fugate said funeral arrangements are incomplete at Kerr Brothers Funeral Home.
Israel Avelar’s mother, Lazara “Sarah” Abaraca, 66, of Chicago, also was traveling with the family and had both legs broken in the crash. Fugate said she is at a rehabilitation center in Texas and will remain there for at least two months.
Several funds have been set up to help the family.
A page has been set up at Gofundme.com under the name Avelar-Vazquez Family Fund.
Clays Mill Road Baptist Church also has a fund. Fugate said checks can be made out to the church with “Avelar Family” in the memo line. Checks may be mailed to Clays Mill Road Baptist Church, 3000 Clays Mill Road, Lexington, KY, 40503, Attn: Flynn Rodgers.
The family had been in Texas for a graduation ceremony in which Israel Avelar received a degree in pastoral theology from Instituto Biblico Bautista Libertad, which is associated with Iglesia Bautista Libertad in Houston. He had recently helped Clays Mill start a Spanish-speaking congregation on Leestown Road.
The family was on their way back to Kentucky when their GMC Savana van, driven by Kevin Avelar, stopped in traffic for a vehicle turning off Texas Hwy. 315 in front of it. Another vehicle hit the van from behind, pushing the van into the path of an oncoming tractor-trailer, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety. Three of the van’s passengers were ejected, police said.