Hunter and Alexis “Lexi” Wilkes, who were both 21, were fatally struck in a car accident in Panola County, Texas on Sunday when a 2008 Dodge Ram towing a trailer collided with them in the middle of an intersection.
The young pastor and his wife were both pronounced dead at the scene, while their two month-old son was taken to the local hospital where he was found to be in stable condition, sustaining only a minor bruise.
The driver of the Dodge, who has been identified as 79 year-old Jerry Galloway, was also taken to the hospital and is also in stable condition, according to a local CBS affiliate.
The couple was on their way to Eastside Baptist Church of Gary, Texas from their home in Minden, Louisiana. Hunter Wilkes served as an associate and youth pastor at Eastside Baptist Church. He was also a student at Louisiana Missionary Baptist Institute & Seminary.
Raymond Walker, pastor of Eastside Baptist Church, told KSLA that he learned of the tragedy after that morning’s Sunday service. When the couple didn’t arrive for Sunday school, he assumed that he had forgotten that Wilkes told him that they would be away that morning, as it was so close to the Christmas holiday. Walker planned on checking in on the couple after church, but received a call with the news just as service was being dismissed.
“Right now I say we’re just pretty much in shock,” Walker said. Going on to describe Hunter and Lexi’s enthusiasm for serving, Walker said that the positivity they embodied had refreshed his own enthusiasm after 31 years of ministry.
“And so a lot of that has helped me through this time. Because it’s easy to get bitter in this world, but they’ve been a blessing,” Walker said.
One of the couples’ students, Ty Ransom, posted a tribute to Hunter and Lexi on Facebook, saying, “I am still at a loss of words. This new little family was any good word you can think of; sweet, loving, kind, caring, joyful, etc.”
“The Lord has a reason and plan for everything, although we may not know His reasoning right now, we do know Hunter and Lexi are in a magnificent and better place,” Ransom went on to say. “Please keep Hunter and Lexi’s family and friends in your thoughts and prayers throughout this heartbreaking time, and please pray for [their son], for he lost his amazing Mom and Dad.”
According to the church’s Facebook page, a viewing is set for Hunter and Lexi on Wednesday evening, December 22, with a memorial service to be held on December 23 at First Baptist Church in Minden, Louisiana.