EL PASO, Texas - A man killed when a wrong-way driver slammed onto his vehicle on the highway between El Paso, Texas and Las Cruces, N.M., was a pastor at a small community church.
Joshua Allen, 30, had been the pastor of Grace Bible Church in Las Cruces since October 2011, starting as interim pastor for the small community church in January 2010. In August of the same year, he married his wife, Shelley, and together they had a 9 month-old son, Josiah.
His father, Dan Allen, also a pastor in Pennsylvania, shared this message on Facebook:
"It is with a completely broken heart and through tears I report to you that God, in His infinite wisdom, has chosen to take our pastor son, Josh, to be home with Him. Josh was traveling to the El Paso airport from Las Cruces, NM, to pick up his brother when someone got on the interstate going the wrong direction and took Josh's life. He was only 30.
"To add insult to injury it is Shelley, his wife's, birthday today. They have one 9-month old son, Josiah. Words escape me at times like these.
"We are claiming Psalm 46:10 as I did when my dad was killed in similar fashion when he was 50 - 'Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted on the earth.' And I am reminding myself of God's faithfulness with the slogan I preached numerous times to so many churches: 'God is faithful, all the time, every day, in every circumstance, no matter what, God is faithful.'
"It seems like I need to repeat this over and over. Naturally, we appreciate your prayers during this time. I'm actually in Nashville, TN, at the National Religious Broadcaster's Convention ... Unfortunately, Josh did not have life insurance. Funeral expenses are covered by our denomination's Beneficiary Society. But pray that the financial needs for this young family will be met."
Church members and friends shared their grief on social media, describing Allen as a great husband and friend. Michelle Vestal posted:
"Specifically praying for a friend, Shelley Allen, this morning as we hear the news that her beloved husband past away last night in a car accident. Leaving behind his beautiful wife and baby, he is now with the Lord receiving his reward. He was a Pastor of a church in New Mexico, a husband, father, a brother, and son and a great friend to many. The Lord brought me and Shelley together in a very unusual way, so Mike Vestal and Josh could meet. You will forever be in our hearts Josh Allen and Shelley and baby will be in our prayers."
The collision happened on I-10 east shortly before 9 p.m. Monday.
El Paso County Sheriff's deputies say 24 year old Jesus Barrera was driving a BMW SUV was going the wrong way and crashed head-on into a Toyota minivan. Allen, in the minivan, died instantly. Deputies say Barrera died moments after a medical helicopter got there. The investigation into the crash is ongoing, and toxicology screens could take weeks before results are known.
Friends and members of Grace Bible Church were unwilling to speak on camera, but a staff member told ABC 7 that the church is accepting donations on behalf of Allen's family.