First Baptist Church of Basehor helping little girls who survived crash that killed their parents, baby sister

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BASEHOR, Kan. -- After a tragic accident took the lives of two parents and their baby, a Basehor church is stepping in to help the surviving siblings.

The pastor at the First Baptist Church of Basehor said Travis and Ashley Askew attended regularly for two years.

He said their oldest girl, L.J., was scheduled to be baptized this coming Sunday. It the focus of the last conversation he had with Travis Askew.

“People ask the question, 'Why?' I have to first and foremost say 'I don't fully understand why,'" said Pastor Duane McCracken.

McCracken said Travis and Ashley Askew were a positive influence in the community and to their children.

“We've had numerous people already come by to donate to the fund to help with expenses,” added McCracken.

A pickup truck crashed into the Basehor family's minivan on U.S. Highway 24 near Perry, Kan. on Sunday.

Travis, Ashley, and their six-month-old baby girl, Haley, were returning coming home from the Topeka zoo when the crash happened.

“I would hope any person who is familiar with the situation like that would do some reassessing and reevaluating of their life, if nothing else, to stop and say, 'Who have I not said today 'I love you,' that I need to, even if I'm upset with?' There aren't any guarantees of tomorrow, even if you're 27 and 35,” McCracken said.

Their other two girls, 5-year-old L.J. and 3-year old Lily, were hurt, but they'll recover.

The crash also killed the pickup's driver, 56-year-old Ronald Heston, of Oskaloosa, Kan.

“I think some of the young couples in our church are reassessing the value of having something specifically written down about if I were to perish, and my spouse were to perish, in an automobile accident, where would my children go, who is going to be our choice in terms of custodial guardianship,” McCracken added.

Pastor McCracken said Sunday was supposed to be a big day for L.J. -- her baptism.

“He had no idea, and I had no idea, that was the last time we'd ever talk on this earth, but it was about a spiritual thing, because Travis and Ashley were spiritual people,” said McCracken.

Ashley's father now has custody of the girls, and said he will do his best to cherish and honor the memory of their parents, adding that it will be a privilege to raise them.

The church is collecting donations for the family through the Deacons' Benevolent Fund to help with the funeral costs and the surviving daughters.

Services will be held there this Friday.

Courtesy Jay Pudenz -Ashley's father. Ashley with her newborn. Both died in the crash.

Courtesy Jay Pudenz -Ashley's father. Ashley with her newborn. Both died in the crash.

Courtesy Jay Pudenz -Ashley's father. The baby died in the crash. The two older sisters are in the hospital.

Courtesy Jay Pudenz -Ashley's father. The baby died in the crash. The two older sisters are in the hospital.

Courtesy Jay Pudenz -Ashley's father. Picture of Ashley and her daughters.

Courtesy Jay Pudenz -Ashley's father. Pictured are Ashley and her daughters.

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