Air Force vet's wife and daughter killed; she had a 'huge heart full of God's love'

by Joni B. Hannigan, Editorial Staff |

LAKE BUTLER, Fla. (Christian Examiner) – A churchgoing family who faced unimaginable tragedy just before Thanksgiving when mom Donna Lynn Murphy Crews, 41, and her daughter, Kaelyn Scelesta Crews, 10, were killed in a car accident, are the focus of a fundraising effort.

Joshua Crews, a former Air Force Master Sargeant who is now a jewelry store owner, and his young daughter Ashlyn Elizabeth Crews, were left behind when Donna and Kaelyn Crews perished Nov. 22.

The accident took place nearby their home in Keystone Heights, Florida where the Crews were hit head on by a pick up truck while traveling on State Road 100 near Lake Butler, according to various news reports; and then struck from the rear by another car.

Donna Crews' obituary describes the 17-year career nurse as "a true servant with a huge heart full of God's love for others." A member of First Baptist Church in Starke, she served as a pianist, choir and praise team member, and a drama team and children's church volunteer.

Kaelyn Crews was a fourth grader at Hope Christian Academy in Starke, Florida where she was a cheerleader and an active member of the church where she sang in the children's choir and was a member of the drama team. "[M]ost of all she loved her baby sister and best friend Ashlyn."

The effort to raise funds for the family is being led by Sarah Lee Weaver who is the sister of Angelica Crews, the wife of Daniel Crews, a well-known young worship leader in North Florida and South Georgia who is Joshua Crew's brother.

A GoFundMe account goal was set at $35K and by Dec. 5 had reached nearly $23K.

James Peoples, the immediate past president of the Florida Baptist Convention, and pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in Keystone Heights, commented on Facebook about the Nov. 25 service.

"Beautiful service honoring the lives of Donna Murphy & Kaelyn Crews," Peoples wrote. "Encouraging word from Pastor Scott Crook pointing to Jesus Christ, our hope & comforter."

According to a police report, 19-year-old Christopher Driggers, of Lake Butler, was driving the truck and taken to a hospital afterwards with serious injuries, as was the driver of the other vehicle, 42-year-old Viola Butts.

After 15 years in the Air Force, Joshua Crews set up shop as a jeweler in Keystone Heights in 2013 where he has focused on custom-made jewelry, according to an article in the Lake Region Monitor.