Dozens injured as car crashes through wall of Florida church during packed Easter service

Congregation had just sat down for evening concert when a Lexus ploughed in and ran over pews and tables

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The Independent Online

A car has crashed through the wall of a church in Florida during a busy Easter service, slamming through pews and a table and injuring more than 20 people.

The out-of-control Lexus came in through the front of the building at around 8pm on Easter Sunday, just as 200 members of the congregation prepared for an annual celebratory concert.

Police and ambulance services were called, and officers arrived to find people churchgoers using their own car jacks to lift the vehicle off of their fellow churchgoers.

Miraculously, though 21 were reported injured and 18 taken to hospital, none of those involved in the crash required surgery and one has already been discharged.

Investigators speaking to reporters outside the Second Haitian Baptist Church said they believed the crash was down to “an unfortunate traffic accident” rather than a deliberate act.

Police Lieutenant Victor Medico said the driver of the Lexus, a young Haitian woman, had been looking for a place to park when the car “malfunctioned” and drove off “straight into the building”. Lt Medico said the woman told investigators that the brakes had also failed.

  He added that, despite the fact that the car drove straight through the wall and well inside the building, the structure was not at risk of collapsing further.

Eye-witness Jean Corjeles said: “Everybody was sitting and the service started and then – bang – the car came in. So many people were injured.”

Eddy Boice, stood outside the church, told News-Press of Fort Myers that word of the crash had spread quickly to the surrounding neighbourhood: “I had family in the church but I don't know if they're hurt,” he said. “They didn't call me and I can't call them.”

A police investigation into the crash has been launched and is ongoing, despite the fact that officers currently believe it to have been an accident.