PALM BAY, Fla. – Congregants at a Palm Bay church face over $30,000 in repairs to its steeple-topped portico after a lawn care truck slammed into several columns, leaving behind extensive damage.
[PHOTOS: Truck slams into Palm Bay church]
No one was injured and it was not immediately known if anyone was inside Faith Baptist Church at 341 Emerson Drive at the time of the crash, which was reported around 3 p.m. Monday.
The 34-year-old driver of a lawn care truck, identified as Jamal Hull, accidentally ran into the awning, Palm Bay police told News 6 partner Florida Today.
“The driver was going through the parking lot and said he got sand in his eyes and ran into the (structure),” said Mike Bandish, spokesman for the Palm Bay Police Department.
The 300-member congregation, pastored by Dr. Louis Schultz, was first started in 1979 and has gradually expanded the church campus since buying the land in 1980. The campus is also the site of a number of events for the surrounding neighborhoods.
In the hours after the accident, five towing trucks, including one fitted with a crane, were used to first stabilize the portico, which is topped with a white church steeple, and then remove the lawn care truck from beneath the structure.
The roof, including the structure, were then settled on the ground at the front entrance.
No charges were filed against Hull.
“He was distracted,” Bandish said.