HELOTES, Texas – What began Sunday with a mother and father taking their four children to get ice cream at Dairy Queen ended tragically in just a matter of seconds.
Helotes police say it appears Craig Smith, 54, and his wife, Susan, 39, pulled out in front of an oncoming pick-up truck.
They were killed in the impact and their youngest and oldest children, ages 5 and 16, were hospitalized.
All four were “deeply shaken, both physically and emotionally,” said Bishop Joel Barber, bishop of the Parkwood Ward Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
Barber said he’s only been able to visit with the two others, ages 15 and 12. But, he said the children are not alone.
“There was an immediate impulse to reach out, to try to minister and to care for them,” Barber said.
He said church members joined other family and friends who had rallied around them.
“It’s our belief and our hope that as we surround them with love and support, that it will not be an event that defines their life,” Barber said.
He said not only did he and the family live in the same subdivision, but he’d been their bishop for three and half years.
Barber said Craig Smith was a civilian employee at Fort Sam Houston.
He said Smith was “always a little reserved, but even-keeled and a wonderful father.”
His wife, known for her wry sense of humor, was “just as pleasant a woman as you would ever want to meet, and hard to spend five minutes with her before she would make you laugh.”
Although they’re both gone, Barber said, “One of the tenets of our faith is that life is not the end.”
He said Craig and Susan Smith continue to minister to their children through those who now surround them.
But Barber said, “Right now, the family is faced with a host of needs.”
He said those include medical and living expenses for the children, as well as the legal costs of establishing their guardianship.
But Barber said thanks to generosity of those willing to help them, “I’m confident that we’ll be able to raise funds sufficient to help meet those needs now and in the future.”
As for the driver who struck the family, Barber said, “We pray for her. We hope for healing for her as well as for these beautiful children.”
Helotes police said the investigation continues into what happened, including whether speed might have been a factor, but no charges have been filed.