An Akron pastor was killed Sunday morning in a crash on Interstate 71 in central Ohio, multiple media outlets in the Columbus area reported.
Troopers with the West Jefferson post of the Ohio Highway Patrol said Melford J. Elliott, 51, was driving south on I-71 between state Routes 38 and 56 in Madison County when his vehicle veered off the freeway about 6:40 a.m. and struck a culvert in the median.
Troopers said Elliott was thrown from the vehicle as it rolled. He landed in the northbound lanes of the freeway, where he was struck by another vehicle.
He died at the scene.
Elliott served as pastor at Greater Bethel Baptist Church in Akron.
In March 2014, he and two other pastors — the Rev. Robert Golson of Prince of Peace Baptist Church and the Rev. Vincent Peterson of Providence Baptist Church — were in the news when they were “arrested” in a mock incident that dramatized what it takes for pastors to defend the Christian faith beyond preaching on Sundays.
During the mock arrests, sheriff’s deputies entered church sanctuaries to serve warrants for the arrests of three pastors for Defending the Faith (the title of a subsequent stage play).
The fake arrests were so realistic that numerous people called media and local authorities to complain about the treatment of the pastors.
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