A traffic accident Thursday afternoon in New Mexico took the lives of two missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, including one from Box Elder County, Utah, who had been serving for nearly two years.
Michael Austin Davis, of Corinne, Utah, and Tyson Gene Haycock of Miles City, Montana, both 20 years old, passed away due to injuries sustained in the head-on collision that happened at approximately 4:23 p.m. Thursday on Indian Service Route 125 near Pinehill, New Mexico, about 120 miles west of Albuquerque.
A third missionary in the same vehicle, 19-year-old Britton Jeremie Berrett of Roberts, Idaho, sustained serious injuries but was listed in stable condition while being treated at an Albuquerque hospital. The driver of the other vehicle involved was also taken to a hospital to be treated for serious injuries.
The road on which the collision happened was closed for several hours while the Ramah Navajo Police Department and other law enforcement agencies investigated, but no further information about the accident was available Friday.
Davis had been serving in the New Mexico Farmington Mission since August 2019 while Haycock was new to the mission, having began his service in June of this year, according to a statement issued Friday by LDS Church spokesman Sam Penrod.
“Our deepest sympathies go to the families of these faithful missionaries, and we express our love and condolences to all who love them,” Penrod’s statement read. “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.”
According to an article in The Church News, an LDS-owned publication affiliated with the Deseret News, Davis is the second youngest of seven children of Bryan and Kim Davis, members of the Corinne First Ward.
“He comes from a wonderful family, and a wonderful community that is rising up to support them,” Corinne First Ward Bishop Alexander J. Gilmore told The Church News. “He was just enthusiastic for life. He loved everybody, he loved life, he loved the Church and the gospel, and he just wanted to share it.”
The accident remains under investigation by the Ramah Navajo Police Department and the FBI, with the New Mexico State Police assisting.