Pastor Greg Stoever of the Grace Brethren church in Sacramento, California, several days ago sent a first report of a horrific traffic accident that occurred on the church’s property. Here is a slightly edited update from him:
The last few days have been full and consuming. The vigil on Thursday night was attended by 125-150 people, mostly teenagers and their parents. A number of folks from our church coordinated having refreshments available, along with a few bonfires to help keep people warm.
About a dozen or so people from our church mingled in with the crowd, and there were lots of opportunities for expressing comfort, prayer, concern, etc. Everyone in our church has been mobilized for prayer. Praise God for a church body that moves into action as needed!
The 18-year-old young man who died was named Scott Crouch. He seems to have been a well-liked, outgoing, athletic young man. He lived with his dad (Scott, Sr.), with whom I have now had much interaction. They were not connected with any church, and I’m still getting to know them.
I’m being looked to for the planning and officiating of a memorial service for Scott, which is scheduled for Sat. Dec. 29, at 10:30am. Because the expected attendance is much larger than what our facilities can hold, the service will take place at a larger church near us (they have graciously made their facilities available).
In addition to meeting with Scott Sr. and beginning to get things moving regarding the memorial service, I spent most of Friday visiting the other teens who were injured in the accident.
They had been taken to four different area hospitals, and here is their current status: one young man (Garron Engstrom, the driver of the vehicle) was treated and released the night of the accident. One young woman (Jessica Rosser, Garron’s girlfriend) was released on Friday with significant, but non-life threatening injuries. Four young men (Jason Doverspike, Ian Smith, Ben Harrington, & Mike Hewitt) are in serious, but improving condition – all are expected to survive.
One young man (Bart Kirby) remains in critical condition, as does one young woman (Jessica Mendoza). Two different men in our church accompanied me on these visits, and we were able to meet and pray with many parents, family, and friends, along with the injured. I also had a follow-up visit with one family on Saturday, and plan to do more on Sunday and coming days.
Myself and one man from our church also made personal contact with the husband of the drunk woman who was responsible for the accident. They are co-owners of a bar, which she was driving home from when the accident occurred (their home is close to our church).
He was very broken and open to our contact, and wanted us to meet more in the future, along with his wife (who is currently released on bail from jail, as she is being charged with vehicular manslaughter). They have two daughters, 12 and 8. Obviously, many needs here.
For now, please keep the following needs in prayer:
– For the physical healing of those who remain injured, and for the spiritual condition of their souls;
– For wisdom, strength, gentleness, and sensitive boldness for me and others from our church as we bear testimony of Christ amidst this multi-faceted situation. There are so many impacted people within the immediate orbit of this tragic accident, many of whom appear not to know Christ. It is obviously a very traumatic, grievous, and delicate situation. We want to “show and tell” the love of Christ in wise and sensitive ways. May many come to the saving knowledge of Him.
– For God to be glorified, and Christ to be proclaimed during the Memorial Service for Scott on the 29th.
– For a planning meeting I’m having today at 4pm (PST) with many of the kids and parents who want to be involved with the service. We are meeting at one of their homes. I’ve not met any of them prior to this accident, and now they are looking to me through their grief for leadership and guidance. I’m looking to Christ.
– For God’s true comfort and peace in Christ to be given to all those who are grieving Scott’s death, particularly his immediate family. I’ve been sharing Ps. 46:1 with folks – “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble”.
– For me personally, as I’m kind of the “tip of the spear” regarding our church’s response and involvement in all of this. I need abundant wisdom, grace, and strength moment by moment.
As you can imagine, this is a consuming matter. God has been faithful to show His power in my weakness, and I know He’ll continue to do so.
In this regard, please remember my wife Laurie and our children Lindsay, Zach, Jordan and Tyler in prayer as well. They are doing great and couldn’t be more supportive, understanding, and helpful. At the same time, Husband and Dad’s availability and physical nearness over the next week (at least) is not going to be quite what we were planning (Prov. 16:9 – “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord directs his steps”).
– For the young man (Garron) who was driving the car with all the kids. As you can imagine, he is overwhelmed with guilt regarding what has occurred. Sadly, the accident occurred on his birthday. We’ve had a number of occasions to interact with him, and will continue to as God leads.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for your prayers. Thank you also to those who have sent brief replies of encouragement – I really appreciate it. I will keep you posted over the next few days. Also, please feel free to forward this to any you know who would share in prayer.
Finally, here are links to a couple of articles from our local paper about the accident, if you are interested:
Article from Friday, 12/21 – http://www.sacbee.com/101/story/583913.html
Article from Sunday, 12/23 – http://www.sacbee.com/101/story/587637.html
In His Mighty Grip,