NICHOLASVILLE — Mourners filled the pews and aisle of New Hope Fellowship Church in Nicholasville on Tuesday to remember a family of five who died in a car crash June 26.
Four flower-adorned, closed caskets sat at the front of the church during the service for Steven Hibbard, 25; Shaila Hibbard, 26; and their children: Alyssa Hibbard, 5; Kylee Jo Hibbard, 3; and James Tanner Phillips, 7. They perished in a fiery crash on U.S. 27 in Nicholasville.
James Tanner Phillips was to be interred in Ohio, where relatives live.
The Rev. Ron Riley, New Hope Fellowship's pastor, told those present that the entire community had been touched by the loss of the family.
"I have never seen people come together as they have," Riley said. "Businesses and individuals wishing to help. Churches and pastors coming together.
"We have seen the saint and the sinner come together because of this family."
The Rev. Steve Sholar, pastor of Edgewood Baptist Church in Nicholasville, also spoke, urging those present to find comfort in God's hope, power and love.
"Where can you begin? What can you say? God is in control of all events on Earth," Sholar said. "We do not breathe as those who have no hope."
Sholar said he could not explain why the Hibbard family had been called away. But he said God one day would replace the pain of loss with feelings of peace and joy.
Riley asked loved ones not to weep for the family, but to seek to be reunited with them one day.
Riley said that while the family members' bodies remain, "their souls are in the presence of God.
"Today, we can't bring them back," he aid. "But we can go to be with them."
Following the 90-minute Service of Remembrance, three hearses led a funeral procession south on U.S. 27 for graveside services at the K.P. Hall Cemetery at Kings Mountain in Lincoln County, where most of the family was buried.
The fatal crash happened about 9:15 p.m. June 26, when the Hibbards' northbound station wagon went out of control, crossed the median of U.S. 27 and collided head-on with a Ford minivan. The station wagon burst into flames.
Angelia Denise Poe, 48, of Virginia, a passenger in the minivan, also died in the crash, and four other women in that vehicle were injured. The minivan was owned by Refuge for Women, a Lexington-based nonprofit organization that helps women who have worked in the sex industry rebuild their lives.
Police are trying to pinpoint what caused the crash.