MILTON, Vt–Police say a 14-year-old on an early-morning joyride in Milton crashed an SUV into a church, totaling the car and causing significant damage to the building.
Paul Somerville, senior pastor of Cornerstone Community Church on Bombardier Road, said damages from Friday morning’s crash will cost “at least” tens of thousands of dollars to repair.
Sunday services will go on as scheduled, he said. But other events and functions may be postponed or cancelled.
“We’re waiting to assess the damage,” Somerville said, “but right now we know that everyone is okay and the church can be repaired, so we’re very grateful.”
Police say the crash occurred just after 3 a.m. Investigators say the vehicle crashed through the church’s exterior wall, continued through the building and crashed through two interior walls before coming to a stop.
The vehicle’s occupants were wearing seat belts and suffered only minor injuries; two occupants were transported to UVM Medical Center for evaluation as a precaution.
Somerville said it could have been much worse. The vehicle narrowly missed running headlong into a tree before crashing into the stick-frame building.
“We were told the driver self reported at 90 miles per hour, and by the looks of things, it looks like they accelerated right into the building,” he said. “The car never slowed”
Somerville grew emotional talking about the incident. With tears in his eyes, he urged young people to consider the potential impact of their actions on parents and others who love them.
“You need to live a long life, you need to experience life as it comes and I want you to factor that in,” he said. “When you make your decisions at 4 o’clock in the morning that no one wants to see you hurt, and no one wants to see you injured, no one wants to see you put cars through buildings.
“We want you to live.”
Police are still investigating the incident.