Texas Department of Public Safety investigators are trying to determine if speed or alcohol were involved in a deadly head-on crash Sunday morning in rural Collin County.
The crash along Farm-to-Market Road 6, one mile west of Nevada, claimed the lives of a 19-year-old man in one car and a young mother on her way to church in the other.
The woman's three little girls were also hurt.
“Everyone was in shock,” LoneStar Cowboy Church of Nevada Senior Pastor Jeff Parson said. “We immediately went into prayer when we heard who was involved and the severity of it.”
Parson said church member Amanda Willoughby’s husband was already at church when he received the awful call informing him of the crash.
Church members ran out and said they could see smoke billowing just up the road.
Willoughby had been involved in a fiery crash while driving to church with their daughters.
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Lavon and Nevada firefighters hurried to the two-lane undivided highway, as did DPS troopers and Collin County Sheriff’s Office deputies.
“It was just as those scenes are, it was a chaotic scene,” Lavon Fire Chief Danny Anthony said.
DPS identified the drivers as Benjamin Andrus, 19 of Nevada and Amanda Willoughby, 27, of Wylie.
Each driver was heading down FM 6, when for an unknown reason, one of the drivers crossed into oncoming traffic, hitting the other car.
Andrus, who was driving a Nissan Altima, died on the scene.
Willoughby, whose Chevy Traverse caught fire, died later in the hospital.
Her daughters, 7-year-old twins and a 4-year old were recovering Monday at Children’s Medical Center in Dallas.
“They had to do some procedures on them, but they’re holding their own. They’re strong fighters,” Parson said.
Parson said the family had attended church for a few years.
“There is never an answer as to why things like this happen, especially when they are people striving for God’s presence as much as they were,” he said. “We have to lean upon the fact that sometimes the unknown can also bring the greatest gifts from God as well.”
LoneStar Cowboy Church of Nevada is accepting donations for the family.
You can also contact the church by phone at 972-763-5722.