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Congregation Mourns 4 Women Killed In Icy Road Crash

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HARTFORD (WWJ/AP) - A small church in west Michigan is planning a joint funeral for four women who were killed in a car crash in Hartford Township over the weekend.

All friends from Keeler Baptist Church, the ladies were on their way home from dinner in Indiana Saturday night when their car was hit by a van that couldn’t stop on an icy road. Their car then spun directly in the path of a pickup truck and was struck again.

One of the victims was 56-year-old Kathryn Maya — the pastor’s wife. Her friend,  56-year-old Lou Ann Holcomb, was a longtime parishioner who was anxiously awaiting the birth of a new grandchild.

Her grieving husband, Vernon Holcomb, talked with WOOD TV about his wife. “That was her thing … When she walked through the door, she’d raise her hands and say, ‘Hallelujah!’ So, they called her the Hallelujah Girl,” he said.

The other victims have been identified as 51-year-old church pianist Charlotte Sieber and 67-year-old Celeste Phillips.

Said Phillips’ brother, George Heffner, “It’s like living a nightmare right now, I think … this doesn’t happen.”

The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the crash.

All four victims were wearing seatbelts.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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