Man charged in crash that killed Racine pastor, sanitation worker

Posted at 5:08 PM, Dec 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-15 19:44:02-05

Iris Gates is facing something she never thought would happen - having to bury her husband Pastor Mark Gates, who led Christ Chapel Missionary Baptist Church in Racine.

"He was an awesome husband, he was everything to me, he was my best friend, at first it was unbelief, I thought this was a dream," said Gates.

Pastor Gates was also a solid waste worker.  According to a criminal complaint, Gates was hit from behind on the 4400 block of Washington Avenue by 20-year old Benjamin Bell, who had his initial court appearance Thursday afternoon.

"I'm just praying for the young man," said Gates.

An aspect of love and forgiveness, which Iris says her husband taught her. Iris says she will stay strong while relying on her faith.

"I know my husband is with the Lord because he loved the Lord, so I know he's in a better place and with that comfort I'm doing pretty good. I just want everybody to not take anything for granted, love your loved ones and tell them that you love them every day," she said.

Pastor Gates is also known for caring for children at the church. Benjamin Bell's bond was set at $100,000 cash. He is being charged with homicide by negligent operation of a vehicle and first degree recklessly endangering safety.