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Hundreds gather to remember Las Cruces pastor killed in head-on collision

By: Melissa Gundersen

LAS CRUCES, N.M. -- Hundreds of people gathered in a Las Cruces church Monday night to remember an area pastor killed after a wrong-way driver crashed into him head-on.

Friends and family members filled the pews of First Baptist Church as they sang gospel songs and listened to sermons in remembrance of the Rev. Josh Allen.

"He had a real servant's heart, loved the people in Las Cruces at his church and his church loved him," said Daniel Allen, Josh Allen's father.

Josh Allen's parents came all the way from Pennsylvania to celebrate his short life. He was killed at just 30 years old.

"That's the phone call you don't want to get and ended up joining that exclusive club. Not real thrilled about that," said Daniel Allen.

Daniel Allen said it's unfortunately a call that's all too familiar.

"My dad was killed almost the same way when he was 50. So I've been down this road before and I hope I never go it again," said Daniel Allen.

Daniel Allen said he will miss his son's humor, passion and most of all his weekly phone calls.

"Where he said, 'Hey dad,' and then we would talk about the ministry," said Daniel Allen.

Joining the family business of ministry years ago, on Monday night it became clear to Josh Allen's family how many hearts he touched within his four years of preaching in Las Cruces.

During the memorial service one pastor told the congregation, "(He) certainly accomplished all that God intended him to accomplish."

Exactly one week ago, a wrong-way driver crashed into Josh Allen on Interstate 10 near the Vinton exit. KFOX14 crews are told he was on his way to the airport to pick up his brother. He died instantly, robbing a wife of her husband and a baby boy of his father.

For Josh Allen's family they said their faith is with God, and along with their son's death, the also pray for the family of the man who hit him. Jesus Barrera, 24, of Bayard, N.M., also died in the crash.

"I would want them to know if they died they were going to heaven and if they don't know that they need to come to know Jesus. I know my son is there. I wish they would know the same thing," said Daniel Allen.

The Allen family will host another memorial service back east for the hundreds of people who weren't able to make it to Las Cruces Monday night.