Vigil honors pastors & son crushed by falling concrete

by Karen L. Willoughby, |
Josh, Vanessa and Hudson Ellis were tragically killed when a concrete side barrier protecting an overpass that was under construction fell onto the roof of their pickup April 13 while they were traveling 30 miles southeast of Seattle. |

BONNEY LAKE, Wash. (Christian Examiner) – A young couple in ministry who died with their son in a horrific highway construction accident were remembered last night in a vigil at their church.

Josh and Vanessa Ellis and their 8-month-old son Hudson were driving through an underpass when a concrete side barrier fell from the roadway above and landed on their pickup's roof. Crews were laying down pavement on the overpass, about 30 miles southeast of Seattle, when the tragedy occurred.

Workers remove debris from the top of the bridge after a concrete side barrier fell onto the roof of the Ellis family pickup on April 13. | Twitter/BonneyLakePolice PIO

"Our wonderful youth pastors ... immediately went to be with Jesus ... literally in the twinkling of an eye," James Ludlow, pastor of EastPointe Foursquare Church in Puyallup, Washington, posted to the church's website. "We are stunned! Shocked! Wounded, broken and dismayed.

"But we know one thing for sure," the pastor continued, "they are in glory in the loving arms of our King Jesus!"

Among those at the candlelight vigil were construction workers and first responders who spent nine hours digging out the bodies of the young couple, in their 20s, and child. 

"Josh and Vanessa youth-pastored and led worship to students and adults and it was their passion to see young people discover the love and grace Jesus abundantly pours out on them," was one of the tributes on a GoFundMe account set up to raise funds for a memorial. "They never passed up an opportunity to share about the love of Jesus. We are all left with a huge hole and will miss the way they lit up every room they walked into.

"We don't' doubt that heaven just got a whole lot louder and they are being welcomed by all of heaven."

The pastor had one further statement for the devastated congregation.

"Hang on to Jesus, people," Ludlow wrote on the church's website beneath a photo of the Ellis family. "He is really, really good, even when we don't feel it."

Local police and the state transportation department are investigating what caused the barrier to fall.