All of the family and friends of the Hett family were saddened by the recent deaths of Philip Hett, a Kansas pastor, and his 10-year-old daughter, Abigail, who were killed in a car accident over the weekend.
Christopher Giroux, 24, of Salina, was driving a pickup truck in the opposite direction when he crossed the median and collided with the Hetts' pickup truck, reports Fox 4. The 39-year-old father and his 10-year-old daughter were killed in the crash.
Jill, Philip's 13-year-old daughter, was also in the car, but she survived the collision, reports The Christian Post. She sustained serious injuries and was taken to the hospital right afterwards.
In the Fox 4 report, the Kansas Highway Patrol said that the crash that killed the pastor and his daughter occurred 8 miles south of Salina on Interstate 135 at approximately 1:30 p.m. on Sunday.
"I don't think it's really sunk in yet that they're gone," said Toby Peck, a family member. "It's gonna be really hard when it finally does sink in."
Peck said that Pastor Philip had impacted "a lot of lives" in the Lindsborg neighborhood, and was very likable. Additionally, he referred to Abigail as "fun," "super smart" and "very talented."
The family members acknowledged that the deaths of Philip and Abigail had left them mourning, they are still thankful that Jillian lived.
"We're lucky to have her," said Peck. "It was a really bad wreck, and some good Samaritans actually are the ones that pulled her out. And that's why she's with us. It's amazing that anybody got out of there and she wouldn't have had (it not) been for them."
A spiritual father to many
Pastor Hett served as the spiritual pastor for the staff and residents of Bethany Village, an Evangelical Lutheran Churches of America retirement facility.
Kris Erickson, CEO of Bethany Village, released a statement to The Christian Post on Wednesday in which he requested for people to pray for the pastor's family. Erickson said that they were "in shock" for the sudden passing of their "beloved pastor and friend."
"He has left us with lessons in faith and love that allow us to hold one another up as we come to terms with this tragedy. Our prayers are with his family, his daughter Jillian, and all who loved him as we grieve with them. We also pray for the family and loved ones of the young man who was involved in the accident," added Erickson.
He also described him as a "brilliant theologian" who has an "understanding of the socio-political climate of the time."
"He was the spiritual center of our mission. He was the person we would turn to in our time of loss and grief, and now we face this loss without his presence," said Erickson.
Donations are welcome
KCWH said that the family of Phillip and Abigail Hett is arranging two funerals and is now soliciting donations to pay funeral and hospital costs. Eyewitness News talked with the mother of Abigail and Jillian Hett, who said donations may be sent to the Jillian and Abby Hett Fund via Farmers State Bank in Lindsborg, Kansas.