Tyler — Rev. David Wilkerson, founding pastor of Times Square Church in New York City and author of the best-selling book, "The Cross and the Switchblade," has died. He was 79.
Texas Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Tela Mange says Wilkerson died Wednesday in a car accident in East Texas.
Mange says Wilkerson's car smashed head-on into a tractor-trailer rig after veering into another lane.
Wilkerson's World Challenge Inc. ministries confirmed on its website that he "went to be with Jesus."
Wilkerson founded the non-denominational Protestant church in 1987 in an area of Manhattan that was then riddled with X-rated movie houses, strip clubs, prostitution and drugs.
Wilkerson also founded Teen Challenge, which uses a biblically based recovery program for drug addicts.
His wife, Gwendolyn, was injured in the car accident.