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'Lost without them.' Church family of Butts County crash victims mourn their deaths

United Methodist Church in Covington held an emotional service remembering two Newton County women beloved in their community.

NEWTON COUNTY, Ga. — There wasn’t a dry eye inside Shiloh United Methodist Church in Covington, Sunday.

The service was a tough one for Pastor Mike Wadley and his congregation.

“Lord, just be with us as we try to fill this void,” they prayed during service. “Lord we loved them, and we are kind of lost without them.”

11Alive’s Nick Sturdivant was there during the emotional service remembering two Newton County women beloved in their community. Many are still in shock after Friday’s crash along Highway 36 in Butts County.

Tony Bowden and his wife Sandra were out with friends Ronald and Judy Martin when they were hit by a speeding Chevy Impala, reportedly trying to escape deputies. Authorities say the suspects’ car was traveling more than 100 mph when it smashed head on into the couples’ pick-up.

READ: 4 dead, several injured in wreck following pursuit

Judy and Sandra didn’t survive the crash, and both their husbands were badly injured the men. And on Sunday, the Butts County Sheriff’s Office confirmed the driver in the deadly crash, 23-year-old Shikym Jenkins, died Saturday night. Authorities say Jenkins and one of his passengers were wanted on warrants in Chatham County.

RELATED: Driver responsible for deadly Butts County wreck dies

Credit: Chatham County Sheriff's Office
Shikym Jenkins, 23, driver of the Chevrolet Impala that slammed head-on into a pick-up truck on Georgia 36 in Butts County on Friday, Sept. 27, 2019, died on Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019.

“This has been a difficult time. Emotionally and physically,” Wadley told 11Alive.

Wadley said Sandra and her husband Tony have been longtime members of the church. He said the Bowden’s friendship with Judy and her husband Ronald is the reason why they decided to join Shiloh United Methodist nearly two years ago.

“They had invited them in,” Wadley explained.

The good friends were heavily involved in church – Sandra with church leadership, and Judy through volunteer work.

“This might be why they are such good friends – because you’re going to look at them and see a smile on their face,” he said.

Credit: Provided
Sandra Bowden, left, Judy Martin, right

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Wadley said he spent the weekend with both families, traveling back and forth between Macon and Atlanta. Both husbands – Tony Bowden and Ronald Martin – face a long recovery.

“Tony Bowden has had some issues with his blood pressure and his heart. He nearly lost his foot and ankle,” Wadley explained. “Ronald Martin came out with good vital signs, but he has a broken body. He’s going to need a [new] hip.”

While the tears of loss flowed Sunday, Sandra and Judy’s church family is putting their faith in God.

“Knowing that God has got this,” Wadley affirmed. “To me, that is his message to us.”

The church says it’s collecting money to help both families.


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