Runaway car slams into rural Ky. Baptist church in Sunday service


CYNTHIANA, Ky. (KT) – The handful of members who gathered for worship Sunday night in Silas Baptist Church were thanking God that everybody was able to walk away after an accident nobody could have seen coming.

An out-of-control car came flying airborne off a hill and slammed into the church at a high rate of speed, busting through brick and shattering a 200-year-old stained glass window and disintegrating pews before resting halfway in the church.

Although there were several minor injuries to three of those inside and a passenger in the car, it was a miracle that no one was hurt worse or even killed, said Silas Baptist Church Pastor Curtis Coots.

“It took one door completely off the hinges,” he said. “It was pretty scary. To get to that door he had to come about 600 feet. You never expect something like that.”

Coots said there were “13 or 14” in attendance but several of them had moved from the pew where they normally sit.

“It’s strange,” he said. “People were sitting out of place. Some little odd things were happening or we’d had several more seriously hurt, if not be planning funerals.”

He said one of his members thought somebody had thrown a bomb inside the church.

The impact of the crash sent bricks flying and shattered glass as members tried to protect themselves from the debris. Coots said one man was hit in the head and the cut required staples. His wife was thrown four feet into other pews. One of his deacons had a bruised lung from being trapped between two pews, the pastor said.

“My wife was upstairs with a handicapped boy who came and she felt the whole building shake,” said Coots, who has been pastor there for 25 years. “The pews just disintegrated.”

The driver of the car had lost control from the road overlooking the church, went airborne near the church’s family life center and then plowed straight into the front of the building, investigators told the pastor.

The community immediately came to the church’s aide, Coots said. One man brought plywood to board up the front of the building and another came in to put up braces to stabilize the wrecked building.

Five different organizations, including the Kentucky Baptist Convention, have also called and offered assistance, Coots said.

A stained glass window that had been the church’s property since 1801 was shattered into several pieces. The church that was damaged was built in 1850.

Silas Baptist Church is meeting in the family life center for now although a structural engineer told Coots they could rebuild. They are still working through insurance issues.


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