Minivan Driven By Local Pastor Crossed Center Line, Causing Deadly Crash


WACO (February 6, 2013)—Investigators have determined that a minivan driven by an associate pastor at the First Baptist Church of Woodway crossed the center line of a rural road, causing a crash that claimed the lives of the pastor and an elderly man who was headed home after spending the day visiting nursing home residents.

Jim Gray, 68, the associate senior adult minister at First Baptist Church of Woodway, was killed in the late-afternoon crash on Jan. 30 on Old Lorena Road as he drove to the church for Wednesday night services.

Elmer Franks, 89, of Hewitt, who was driving the Dodge pickup truck with which the minivan collided, was flown by helicopter to Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center, where he later died.

Investigators said Gray was driving a Honda minivan north on Old Lorena Road toward U.S. Highway 84 when “for unknown reason Mr. Gray crossed over the yellow line” and the Honda collided with the pickup in which Franks was driving south.

The impact as the left front corners of the van and pickup struck caused the two vehicles to spin in a counter-clockwise direction.

The pickup ended up on the southbound shoulder and the minivan ended up on the northbound side of the road.

No further details were released, but Waco police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton said the investigation is ongoing.