Two full-time missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints died and a third was seriously injured Thursday afternoon in a head-on collision while the men were serving missions for the church, a spokesman said.
Elder Michael Austin Davis, age 20, of Corinne, Utah, and Elder Tyson Gene Haycock, age 20, of Miles City, Montana, both died from injuries sustained in the crash, church spokesman Sam Penrod said in a statement.
A third missionary in the vehicle, Elder Britton Jeremie Berrett, age 19, of Roberts, Idaho, sustained serious injuries, but is in stable condition and being treated at a hospital in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
All three missionaries were serving in the New Mexico Farmington Mission.
The crash occurred at 4:23 p.m. on Indian Service Route 125, according to the FBI and Ramah Navajo Police Department.
The missionaries were driving a Toyota Tacoma. One missionary died at the scene. Another died at a hospital.
The driver of the other vehicle, a Ram pickup truck, was seriously injured and taken to the hospital. An adult passenger fled the scene, according to witnesses.
The New Mexico State Police is assisting with the investigation, which remains active.
Elder Haycock’s missionary service began just a few weeks ago in June.
Elder Davis had been serving since August 2019.
“Our deepest sympathies go to the families of these faithful missionaries, and we express our love and condolences to all who love them,” Penrod said in a statement. “We pray that their families, friends, and the missionaries they have served alongside, will all feel God’s love and peace, during this difficult time.”
In a Facebook post, Elder Samisoni Fotofili, a missionary in the New Mexico Farmington Mission, wrote a tribute to Davis.
“I would always tell everyone that you are the best missionary this mission has ever seen. I meant every word of that,” he wrote.