A car crashed through the walls of a Fort Myers, Florida, church during Easter Service, injuring close to two dozen people, police said.
Nearly 200 people were attending services at the Second Haitian Baptist Church on Sunday when the Lexus plowed into the building, police said.
The driver of the car told police her brakes failed as she entered the church parking lot.
Parishioners used vehicle jacks and brute force to lift the car to get to those trapped underneath, police said.
“We freak(ed) out,” church-goer Nicholas Plancher told CNN affiliate WINK. “Then we start pulling people under the car. Some of them — some of them were hurt pretty bad. So we hade to do what we had to do to take care of them.”
Police Lt. Victor Medico said authorities were treating the incident as a “very unfortunate accident rather than a criminal act.”
“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 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.
Lee Memorial health System spokeswoman Mary Biggs said 18 people were taken to Lee County hospitals and one was discharged late Sunday. She said none required surgery.
Information from: The (Fort Myers, Fla.) News-Press, http://www.news-press.com
SOURCE: The Associated Press