Joshua (left) and Khalil Royston
Photo: Nicole Royston
Photo: Nicole Royston

‘I have to trust God’: Newnan pastor mourns 2 sons who died in single-car crash

A Newnan pastor and his wife are heartbroken after their two youngest sons were killed in a single-car crash Sunday afternoon.

Joshua Royston, 16, and Kahlil Royston, 17, were leaving OutReach Church around 1 p.m. when Kahlil lost control of his Infiniti sedan on Smokey Road, their father Kevin Royston told 

He said he received a call from a woman who attends his church, telling him about the accident and that he needed to hurry there.

“Losing two sons at one time — it’s devastating,” he said. 

Kevin and Nicole Royston (Family photo)

The car left the roadway, began to spin and hit a fire hydrant, sending it airborne, according to the Georgia State Patrol. It hit two trees with its top before coming to a stop on its tires. 

Joshua was killed in the crash, and Kahlil died later at an area hospital from a serious brain injury, Kevin said.

The GSP said speed may have been a factor in the crash.

“There’s always a bigger picture,” Kevin Royston said. “I didn’t want anything to happen to my sons, but because my faith is in God and not in myself, I know God had a plan. I have to trust God.”

Both boys were students at Newnan High School. The school’s principal asked the Newnan community to keep the family in their thoughts and prayers. 

Kevin said in a Facebook post that Kahlil’s organs were donated “to be a blessing for persons in need of them.”

He said Kahlil, who was days away from turning 18, was going to head to work later on the day he died.

“He was the kind of kid that once he made up his mind, he accomplished it,” Kevin said. “He was a hard-working and a very independent young man.”

Joshua was someone he felt could follow in his footsteps and enter ministry.

“He was the one who I felt was going to be a preacher,” he said. “He was less outspoken, but he was very articulate and smart.”

Kevin said this tragedy is forcing him, his wife Nicole and their 21-year-old son to practice what he preaches and have faith in God.

He brought up the Genesis story of Abraham and Isaac, where God tells Abraham to sacrifice his son for him. Even though Abraham loved his son, he was willing to obey God.

God eventually sends an angel to stop Abraham from sacrificing Isaac, and a ram appears out of nearby bushes, which Abraham sacrifices instead.

“I believe God has a ram in the bush just like he did then,” Kevin said. “One of the definitions for faith is trust, and we have to stay connected to him.”

The high school is expected to share funeral arrangements when they are made.

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