A South Carolina pastor and father of four died tragically less than two hours before Father’s Day Saturday after he was hit in a freak car accident while changing a tire on a highway.
State troopers told The State that Pastor Brian Kinney Walker, 49, of Bennettsville First Church of the Nazarene in Bennettsville, was killed along with another man, Andrew Tad Reeser, 45, whom he was helping to change a tire on the side of Interstate 20 in Richland County at about 9:30 p.m.
Cpl. Sonny Collins of the S.C. Highway Patrol said a van was parked in the emergency lane of the interstate and a Jeep was parked behind the van. The men were changing a tire on the van when a third vehicle hit the back of the Jeep, pushing it into the van, Collins explained. The men were squashed between the two vehicles.
Reeser was pronounced dead at the scene just before 10:45 p.m. Walker was pronounced dead at Prisma Health Richland Hospital. Both men died from multiple blunt force injuries.
It is still unclear what caused the third vehicle to crash into the van. The driver, who was not identified, was treated at a local hospital with unknown injuries.
As more details of the crash trickle in, many who knew Walker have been expressing condolences.
“With a heavy heart and great sadness, I make the announcement that our Pastor, Brian Kinney Walker went to be with the Lord Saturday evening, June 15, 2019,” Walker’s church wrote on Facebook on Monday.
“Though he'd been with us only since Easter Sunday, April 21 2019, Pastor Brian had found his way deep into our hearts and lives. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him. Please keep his wife, Pattie and four children, Becca (21), Isabella (19), Jake (17) and Connor (14) in your prayers during the days ahead,” the church added.
Officials at First Church of the Nazarene – Rock Hill called on parishioners to pray for Walker’s family as well as the members of Columbia Grace Church of the Nazarene where he had served for 10 years.
“Pray for Patty in the loss of her husband and their children in the loss of their father, and the rest of their family who all need peace and comfort from God,” the church said.
“Be in prayer for the Bennettsville First Church of the Nazarene Church Family Bennettsville, as they have lost their new friend and pastor. Also, pray for the Columbia Grace Church of the Nazarene Church Family, who had the honor of having Brian serve their church family for over 10 years in two tenures. They, too, have lost a dear friend and pastor.”
Alicia Vacchiano had nothing but warm words to share about the late pastor.
“Our Dear Friend, Brian Kinney Walker, has gone home to meet Jesus this morning. What a heart break for us and those who knew and loved him. The kindest man with the most gentle heart of any man I have ever known. Our hearts and prayers are with Pattie and the children as they have to navigate the future without him. We love you and will miss you greatly. Rest in the arms of Jesus, our friend,” she wrote on Facebook Sunday.