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LDS missionary in Idaho succumbs to injuries

Published: Friday, Sept. 6 2013 3:05 p.m. MDT

Police responded to the scene of an accident near Pocatello Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013, that critically injured LDS missionary Taylor Ward and injured another. (Mike Burnside) Police responded to the scene of an accident near Pocatello Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013, that critically injured LDS missionary Taylor Ward and injured another. (Mike Burnside)

ROCKFORD, Idaho — Elder Taylor Shane Ward, 19, an LDS missionary from Vacaville, Calif., has died from his injuries sustained Tuesday in an automobile accident near Pocatello, Idaho.

Members of the missionary's family had traveled from California to be with him, and they were there at the time of his death, church officials said.

Elder Ward was a passenger in a car driven by his missionary companion, Elder John Floyd, of Deep Run, N.C. Police reports indicate that the passenger side of the missionaries' car was hit by a pickup truck when the missionaries' car failed to yield at a stop sign.

One of the vehicles involved in the accident that critically injured LDS missionary Taylor Ward is removed from the scene near Pocatello Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013. (Mike Burnside) One of the vehicles involved in the accident that critically injured LDS missionary Taylor Ward is removed from the scene near Pocatello Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013. (Mike Burnside)

The two missionaries were serving in the LDS Church's Idaho Pocatello Mission. Elder Ward had only been in the mission since July.

"Every member of the church feels the loss of a missionary," said Ruth Todd, spokeswoman for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. "We are deeply saddened, and share with his family, friends and fellow missionaries in their grief. We extend to them our love, our prayers and our deepest sympathy."

The date, time and location of funeral services are pending.

LDS Church officials made the announcement Friday, noting doctors pronounced Elder Ward dead on Wednesday night when there was no sign of brain activity.

Elder Ward is one of 10 LDS missionaries who have died this year, a fact noted late Wednesday in a release issued by the church's Missionary Department.

“For the church and particularly for the families of these missionaries who have lost their lives we know that the loss of even one missionary is far too many," said Elder David F. Evans, executive director of the Missionary Department. “To these remarkable families we extend our love, our faith, our hope and our prayers. And we pray that peace and comfort will be yours during these times of sorrow."

Elder Evans also noted that, gratefully, these occurrences are rare, and missionary work is inherently safe. The mortality rate for missionaries is significantly less than those in their same age group in the general population.

Email: jwalker@desnews.com

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