Weatherford Democrat

November 13, 2012

Two escape injury when car hits church

Christin Coyne
Weatherford Democrat

WEATHERFORD — No one was injured Sunday evening when a car ended up inside North Main Church of God just before the start of a special Veteran’s Day service.

Forrest Bass, pastor of the church, said he was in the parking lot when a white 2003 Ford Focus crashed into the east side of the building shortly before 5:30 p.m.

Though he couldn’t see the car from where he was, the crash sounded loud, like a truck dropped two or three stories, Bass said.

The vehicle ended up all the way inside the building.

The driver, April Schneider, 22, ran a stop sign at the intersection of Edna Street and North Main Street before crossing North Main and crashing into the side of the church southwest of the intersection, according to Weatherford Police Cpl. Karl Westendorf.

Neither Schneider nor a 23-year-old woman in the passenger seat was injured, according to police. Both women were reported to be wearing seat belts, and air bags deployed.

“They were very, very lucky,” Westendorf said.

The car crashed into a storage room and hallway behind Bass’ office. Shortly before the wreck, a woman with a baby had walked from his office through the hallway, Bass said.

A pre-service honoring veterans was scheduled for 6 p.m., Bass said.

However, services were cancelled and arriving churchgoers crowded around the gaping hole in the brick wall as police and other emergency personnel worked at the scene.

Because it was dark Sunday evening, church staff were unsure of the extent of the damage, though a crack ran a significant distance up the side of the church.

“Lives are worth a whole lot more,” Bass said.

Schneider was cited for running a stop sign, according to Westendorf.

It’s the second time a vehicle has traveled into a Weatherford-area church this month.

On Nov. 1, a pickup driven by 69-year-old Melton McCowen on Tin Top Road traveled hundreds of feet off the roadway before plunging into the front of Christ the King Covenant Church.

McCowen was pronounced dead at Weatherford Regional Medical Center a short time after the wreck, and his death was ruled natural as a result of arteriosclerotic cardiovascular disease.

A church secretary seated a few feet in front of where the truck stopped was uninjured, though the wreck caused significant damage to the building.