• Paulding pastor struck, killed by charter bus while biking

    By: Carl Willis


    DALLAS, Ga. - A cyclist who died Wednesday afternoon after being struck by a charter bus has been identified as local pastor Andrew Pray, 31.

    Those who knew him said he was a dedicated father, husband and leader at West Ridge Church in Dallas where he served as a worship pastor.

    Brian Bloye, the founder and lead pastor of West Ridge, described the loss to Channel 2's Carl Willis.

    "I think everybody's just numb," said Bloye. "Everybody is just in shock right now."

    Pray was riding his bike along U.S. 41 in Bartow County just south of Red Top Mountain State Park when he was hit by a charter bus. Bloye said the married father of three was an avid cyclist.

    "He spent a lot of time on these roads up here in North Paulding up into Bartow, and I passed him many times in my truck as he was taking off or just getting back from somewhere," said Bloye.

    Pray had the perfect name for a life in the ministry and, according to Bloye, the right amount of passion and dedication to take the stage every Sunday and lead the band during service.

    "I just had a tremendous amount of confidence in him and he was just one of the finest young men I've ever been around," said Bloye.

    While the church community is still coming to terms with the sudden loss, Bloye said thoughts are turning to Pray's wife Courtnie Pray and their three children all under the age of 8.

    He said the children and Courtnie will need support to get through this difficult time.

    "When everything is all said and done and we get through this time of going to funerals, she's going to really need the support of the community and the church which I know she'll get," he said.

    Pray was from Springdale, Ark., where he garnered all state honors in football.

    Bloye said Pray was less than a week away from his 32nd birthday.

    There was no information available Thanksgiving Day regarding the accident investigation.

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