, news editor, Adventist Review
The family of the 80-year-old driver who collided with a van, killing a Seventh-day Adventist principal and his niece in the U.S. state of Indiana, said Wednesday that they suspect he suffered a medical condition that caused him to lose control of his vehicle.
Driver Jack Reed ran a red light in Indianapolis on Tuesday morning, crashing into the van driven by Indianapolis Junior Academy principal Norris Ncube.
Ncube was taking five children to school, including his 5-year-old niece and twin 12-year-old son and daughter. Ncube, 50, died at the scene, while his niece succumbed of her injuries in the hospital.
Reed’s family said they were devastated by the tragedy, which has shocked the city of about 1.5 million people and Adventist believers around the world.
"We are devastated by the news of yesterday's events and extend our deepest condolences to all of the families involved,” the Reed family said in a statement.
“While the exact cause of the crash is yet to be determined, we have received news that toxicology reports are negative,” the statement said. “It appears the cause of the accident was related to a medical issue — most likely a stroke. We respectfully ask for privacy during this difficult time.”
Reed remained hospitalized in serious condition on Thursday.
Harvey Kornegay, pastor of the Glendale Seventh-day Adventist Church in Indianapolis, said church members have flocked to the Riley Hospital for Children to pray for the four children who survived the accident and to comfort their families, WHTR-TV reported.
Ncube’s son, Joshua, was on a hospital ventilator, and the other three children were badly injured but showing signs of improvement, news reports said.
Kornegay said church members were also praying for Reed and his family.
He said Ncube’s grieving wife was finding faith and strength in God.
“I am amazed. She is so resilient. She is a strong woman of strong Christian faith,” Kornegay told WHTR.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to assist the Ncube family with medical expenses. A total of $680 of the goal of $50,000 had been collected within two hours of the page going online.
Adventist Church-owned Indianapolis Junior Academy, which has 85 students, announced that it would remain closed until Monday as pastors and counselors help students deal with the tragedy.
More than 100 people paid tribute to Ncube and his niece at a prayer vigil Tuesday evening, and a second prayer vigil was scheduled for the Glendale church on Wednesday evening, WISH-TV reported.