FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) — A car slammed into a packed Florida church Sunday night just as its annual Easter concert was about to begin, barreling through its brick outer wall and several rows of pews and injuring about 20 people, authorities said.
The Lexus sedan struck the Second Haitian Baptist Church at around 8 p.m. Sunday, when there were about 200 people inside, Fort Myers police Lt. Victor Medico said. When officers arrived at the scene, church members were using car jacks to lift the vehicle off of people who were trapped beneath the vehicle, The (Fort Myers) News-Press reported (http://newspr.es/1i7MLTi ).
"Everybody was sitting and the service started and then 'BING' the car came in," said Jean Corjeles, who was in the church when the crash happened.
"So many people are injured," he said.
Medico said the driver, a young Haitian woman, told investigators she was looking for a parking spot when the car malfunctioned and it drove "straight into the building," adding that she said the car's brakes malfunctioned.
Even though the car drove through an exterior wall and into the building, the structure isn't in danger of collapsing, said both Medico and Benjamin Abes, Lee County's EMS operations chief.
Lee Memorial health System spokeswoman Mary Biggs said 18 people were taken to Lee County hospitals, including four trauma patients. One of those four was later discharged. At least three of those injured Sunday are children.
Information from: The (Fort Myers, Fla.) News-Press, http://www.news-press.com