Southern Seminary student, family killed in six-car accident
A western Kentucky youth minister pursuing a master of divinity degree at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary was killed along with his family in a six-car pileup near Nashville, Tennessee, Oct. 3.
Michael Cruce and his wife Monica, both 43, and their teenage sons, Caleb and Joshua, died in the crash after authorities say their car collided into two cars parked on I-40 East for unknown reasons. Four other drivers were injured in the crash, including 24-year-old Chase Fakes, who was charged with a DUI. Authorities say everyone involved was wearing a seatbelt and the investigation is ongoing.
A youth pastor for 10 years at Rosebower Baptist Church in Paducah, Kentucky, Michael Cruce had recently attended a philosophy course at Southern Seminary and was taking his family to Gatlinburg for fall break.
“They were a family full of faith, character, and integrity,” said Rosebower Baptist Church pastor Justin Mason. “They were truly devoted to God and the things of God. It was a privilege to serve alongside Michael and Monica.”
Southern Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. released the following statement:
"The death of the entire Cruce family in a single accident is a tragedy almost beyond belief. Just days before the crash, Michael was in class at Southern Seminary. For so many years together, he and his wife Monica had modeled Christian love and devotion to each other and their boys. He had been deeply involved in ministry in Paducah and through the Rosebower Baptist Church. Our hearts go out to their extended family and to their church family, where so many are grieving the loss of this beautiful family. The Southern Seminary family feels a great loss, and we thank God for the life and witness of Michael Cruce and his family. May his example, and the testimony of this family now together with Jesus, be an encouragement and a sober reminder of the fact that life is short and every day is precious. We also pray that the witness of this family will bring others to faith in Christ, even in death.
“Michael Cruce ran his race, and finished his course. We thank God for his life and ministry."
The Cruce family traveled to Haiti for a mission trip with the church youth group over the summer and they “mentored, counseled, instructed, and ministered to both our youth and the church body as a whole,” the church said in a statement Monday.
“His heart was discipleship and you could see that through his students,” said Mason, also an Ed.D. student at Southern Seminary. Mason noted that the youth group praised God for Cruce’s service during a time of worship and mourning on Sunday, Oct. 5.
“You can definitely see the legacy they left by the lives that they lived and the students that they led,” he said.
The funeral service for the family will be held at Rosebower Baptist Church on Wednesday, Oct. 8, at 11 a.m. A visitation for the family is set from 5-8 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 7, at the church. Memorial contributions can be made to the Friendship Baptist Church Building Fund or the Rosebower Baptist Church Building Fund, care of Lindsey Funeral Home.