Michigan Episcopal Bishop Killed in Crash

By  | 

The Episcopal bishop of Northern Michigan was killed in a three-vehicle crash in which another motorist also died, state police said.

The Rt. Rev. James Arthur Kelsey, 54, of Marquette, was driving a sport utility vehicle on state highway 28 on Sunday about two miles east of Shingleton when he crossed the center line and slid into a pickup truck. Kelsey and the pickup driver, Michael Charles Wiita, 58, of Lake Linden, died at the scene, police said.

A passenger in the truck was seriously injured. A third vehicle ran into Wiita's pickup but the driver was unhurt.

Troopers said rainy weather may have caused the wreck.

"The Episcopal Church has today lost one of its bright lights," Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said in a statement issued by Episcopal News Service. "We will be less without the easy grace of Bishop James Kelsey -- Jim to most of us -- and we shall miss his humor, insight, and passion for the ministry of all."

Kelsey was among founders of the Earth Keeper Initiative, an interfaith program that sponsors environmental protection projects in the Upper Peninsula.

A Baltimore native, he served as ministry development coordinator for the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Michigan for 10 years before his election as bishop in 1999.