A beloved pastor and U.S. Army veteran was killed on an Indiana highway while trying to help his daughter, who ran out of gas while driving early Friday morning.
Earl L. Gresham, 73, was attempting to cross the six lanes of I-65 to reach Indiana State Police troopers who were waiting with his daughter on the highway’s northbound shoulder around 4 a.m. when he was struck by two cars.
Gresham was the longtime preacher at the Faith and Love Church in New Albany, Indiana. He founded the house of worship about 35 years ago.
“My husband was just a really good man,” Cynthia Gresham, 66, told the Indy Star. “He would help anybody. It didn’t matter what time they called, he would try to help them.”
Police say that Gresham made it across the three southbound lanes of the highway and the median in an attempt to reach his daughter, but he was struck by a Toyota Camry while crossing the northbound lanes. He was then hit by a semitractor-trailer.
The Toyota Camry was “badly damaged” in the crash, according to police, but the driver was unharmed. Though they will conduct an investigation, they said at this time that there isn’t any evidence to charge either of the drivers.
Gresham served in the U.S. Army from 1965 to 1967, during which time he was stationed in Anchorage, Alaska. Apart from those two years, he lived the entirety of his life in New Albany, Indiana. He was raised with his six brothers and four sisters, and he and his wife Cynthia had three children and seven grandchildren.
“He even picked up his grandkids every Sunday to take them to church and everything,” Cynthia Gresham said. “I just can’t get over it.”
According to Cynthia, Gresham’s oldest brother just passed away last week, and the pastor presided over his brother’s funeral.
Tributes have already begun to pour out on social media for Gresham, who was a staple of the small, rural community.
“Faith and Love Church lost a Saint last night, but Brother Earl earned his wings,” New Albany resident Jeff Hardin wrote on Facebook. “Fly high we’ll take it from here. One of the best Clergyman to have lived.”