Wife killed by runaway big rig was missionary, mother of 3

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Kyra Karr (Photo used with permission from IMB)

Family and friends told FOX 5 that Kyra Karr had a heart of gold, was a devoted wife, mother, and loved her mission work in Italy.

The 31-year-old mother of three was killed Thursday night when a tractor trailer came barreling down a hill, pushed the Karr family's pickup truck down across the median followed by two lanes of traffic on U.S. Highway 41 before going down an embankment.

Kyra died instantly. Her husband and at least one child were trapped with the 18-wheeler on top of the family truck.

"It was a terrible scene. We had veteran officer's out there who had a hard time because many of our victims were trapped," Emerson Police Chief Stan Bradley explained.

Reid Karr, who was also a missionary in Italy, was driving the Toyota pick-up truck. He suffered minor injuries and was released from Kennestone Hospital on Friday. Family members told FOX 5, the 36-year-old father went almost immediately to his daughter's hospital bedside at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite.

Meanwhile, police had a hazardous situation on their hands. The truck was carrying toxic cleaning supplies from Zip Industries. The cleanup on U.S. Highway 41 in Bartow County took almost 9 hours.

Police said the trucker was not behind the wheel when the wreck happened Thursday night. Ivan Delgado was performing a safety check and failed to put on the brakes. Police charged Delgado with DUI, vehicular homicide, reckless conduct, and several lesser charges.

"Officer's did a field sobriety test that indicated some type of drug, perhaps prescription, was in his system. There was no alcohol involved in the wreck,” said Chief Beadley.

Two the Karr's daughters, ages 4 and 2, are still in the hospital. Their 6-year-old daughter was not in the pickup truck at the time of the accident.

Faith community reacts to Cartersville missionary’s death

The congregation of the Tabernacle Baptist Church is reeling from the sudden loss of 31-year-old Kyra Karr.

"I was just shocked. I couldn't believe it. I got the call this morning and I'm like did I really hear what I just heard," said Michael Gill, a fellow church member and friend of Kyra Karr.

Photographs provided by another friend who owns kkphotography show Krya Karr, her husband Reid, and their three children.

The Karr family according to church members was visiting family in the Cartersville area for the summer, home from Rome Italy where they were missionaries.

Family members said the Karr’s were scheduled to return to Italy on Saturday to finish their work there. Friends told FOX 5 the couple had spent more than 5 years in Rome. Kyra worked with The Greenlight Project which deals with human trafficking and prostitution.

"I believe they arrived here in early June and they were planning to leave Saturday and then this," said Jeff Lewis, a fellow church member.

We're told Kyra Karr was an inspiration when she was a member of the church before leaving to Italy in 2009.

"One of the great things about Kyra was just her love of people. How much she cared about them and it waw just so evident," said Gill.

Funeral plans are still pending.

FOX 5's Aungelique Proctor and George Franco contributed to this report