Fort Myers Church Members Victims of Car Crash
As more than 100 worshipers at Second Haitian Baptist Church in Fort Myers settled into the pews for a peaceful Easter Sunday evening concert, they had no idea how quickly their lives would change.
A day of joy turned into fear when an out-of-control car crashed into the small brick worship hall, hitting worshipers who sat in the 33-year-old driver’s path. Many were run over and pinned under the vehicle. Fellow members came to their rescue, lifting the car off the injured and applying immediate first aid.
More than 21 People Injured
By the time the dust cleared, more than 21 Second Haitian members were injured, with the majority of individuals having to be treated at local hospitals. Thankfully, no one lost their lives in the traumatic event, but a number of lives were changed due to the seriousness of their injuries, from broken bones to serious cuts.
Said Rev. Israel Suarez, founder and CEO of The National Association Charities in Fort Myers to The News-Press, “This is not about the physical part of the building. But there are 21 people who have been affected by this. These people were not able to go to work. They may have problems paying their rent. They will have some economic problems.”
Although the church sits in shambles, the determination of the congregation continues to push their mission forward, holding services in their parking lot, and thanks to the generosity of Harvey-Engelhardt Funeral and Cremation Services, at another chapel in town. Through the support and compassion of local churches and organizations, Second Haitian is finding light in the midst of darkness.
To assist congregation members as they rebuild their lives after injury, the Fort Myers Law Offices of Wolf & Pravato, which specializes in personal injury cases, has been chosen to represent the injured. As the authorities continue to piece together what happened on April 20, 2014, Wolf & Pravato will continue to stand by the side of the victims in Fort Myers and fight for their rights in a court of law.
“My thoughts and prayers go out to all of the injured and to their families at this difficult time. The entire Fort Myers community was shocked that one car could possible cause so much pain and affect so many lives. My client was trapped under the Lexus and nearly lost his life; he has suffered tremendously. We are investigating to see if there were any defects or malfunctions within the Lexus vehicle that caused or contributed to the terrible injuries suffered by the parishioners of the church.” Says Vince Pravato of Wolf & Pravato
Congregation Rebuilding Efforts
Community members have set up an account for Second Haitian Baptist Church at SunTrust Banks in Fort Myers for anyone who wishes to help the congregation rebuild its facility or assist those who have been affected. With the outpouring of compassion already from the community and the continued support headed its way, Second Haitian can focus on the needs of its members.
Remarked one victim who returned to the scene to worship following the crash, “Nothing could have stopped me from coming here. This is my best place.”
NBC-2.com WBBH News for Fort Myers, Cape Coral