A family is grieving and a tight-knit religious community is in shock after the death of two young children in a head-on collision in Melbourne’s north-west. The children have been identified as Ruana and Immanuel George.

Police said on Tuesday evening  that they had charged a man over the fatal collision. 

The children were travelling home with their parents from a birthday celebration when a Ford Territory attempting to overtake another car collided with their Ford Focus on Hopkins Road in Truganina in the early hours of Sunday.

The driver of the Ford Territory, a 41-year-old Rockbank man who remains in hospital, was charged with negligence causing serious injury and two counts of culpable driving.

Ruana, 10, was killed at the scene. Her father George Panicker, mother Manju Varughese and brother Immanuel George, 4, were rushed to hospital.

Immanuel, also known as Manu, died at the Royal Children’s Hospital about 6.30pm on Monday night. His mother, Manju, remains in a critical condition. Mr Panicker was released from hospital but has remained by his wife’s side.

The family has been described as loving, quiet, religious people by their community

The vicar of St Mary’s Indian Orthodox Cathedral in Melbourne, Reverend Father Pradeep Ponnachan, told The Age they were well-known members of the church.

“They were a devoted, pious family,” he said. “The church community is terribly disturbed, there is no words to explain.”

A special prayer meeting is being held on Tuesday night at the cathedral in Coburg to remember the two children and pray for Manju’s recovery.

Reverend Ponnachan has since been staying at the Royal Melbourne Hospital to support Mr Panicker.

Melbourne teacher Christina Prakanthan said she had taught Ruana classical Indian dancing for more than three years.

She last saw the bright 10-year-old at her regular class on Friday night. She had been helping her prepare for her grade one dance exam, which was scheduled for July 14.

“She started here as a young girl, she was six years old when she came,” said Ms Prakanthan, who owns a dance school in Caroline Springs that teaches Bharathanatyam, a type of Indian classical dance.

 “She was really friendly with everyone, a bit shy in the class, a nice girl. I just loved her so much.”

Ms Prakanthan said the family had been coming home after a birthday party when the crash occurred.

“They are lovely people. Quiet always, don’t talk much, but really lovely people,” she said.

“It’s a tragedy, I’m just unable to think she’s no more. It’s really hard to take in the news and come to terms with it. She’s a young girl, she was just here. He’s just a little boy, both are lovely children.

In a note to her teacher last year, Ruana wrote: “What Bhanthanatyam [Indian classical dancing] means to me. Trying your best and having a go, it also means to me learning all the steps and doing what the teacher says. And it also means to practise every day.”

Other parents who have children at the dance school who knew Ruana and her mother Manju have expressed their shock after the news spread on Sunday.

In messages given to The Age via the dance school, parent Ujjwala Mukadam said: “Ruana had a very cute smile, and [was] my daughter Sanika’s best buddy in dance class. Rest in peace little angel.”

“She is very bubbly and a talented little girl. I saw her in a group dancing performance with other kids… I don’t know why she stole my eye,” another parent said.

Major Collision Investigation Unit detectives are investigating the crash.

It brings the total number of road deaths for 2018 to 106, compared to 128 deaths at this time in 2017.

Police have urged anyone who witnessed the collision to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.