Car smashes into church; 14-year-old behind the wheel

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MILTON, Vt. (WCAX) A carload of teens smashed into a Vermont church early Friday morning, destroying walls and creating a massive mess just days before Sunday services.

Police say the teens stole the car from family.

Our Kiernan Brisson spoke with the pastor and police.

Construction crews got to work Friday morning clearing debris and patching a hole in the side of the Cornerstone Community Church in Milton.

Police say a car driven by a kid caused all this damage. Officers got to the scene quickly since the church is across the street from the police station.

"At approximately 3:04 this morning, the Milton Police Department responded to the Cornerstone Community Church for the report of a vehicle that crashed into the church. They located an SUV and the operator was identified as a 14-year-old juvenile," Milton Police Sgt. Paul Locke said.

Police say the teen was speeding and airborne when he hit the church.

While there is major damage to the building itself, the senior pastor is happy to report that there were no major injuries to the parties involved in the crash.

"That's what I care about," Pastor Paul Somerville said. "This could've been a lot different."

Somerville thinks he knows what happened. He believes the teen was speeding down Bombardier Road when he missed a turn, landed on the lawn and went through a parking lot and into the church.

Investigators aren't saying if they agree with the pastor's theory.

"At this point, it's too early to determine that. We're reviewing security video from around the police department here, the back rec area where the vehicle was initially, and it's still under investigation and we'll look into that further," Locke said.

The lower level of the church, which houses recreation rooms, sustained major damage. The sanctuary upstairs was untouched. Services will go on as scheduled this Sunday.

"It doesn't look like the damage is so extensive that we can't use our sanctuary and go on with a regular service," Somerville said.

Police say because the teens were wearing seat belts, there were only minimal injuries. Two were transported to the hospital for an evaluation just as a precaution.

Authorities say the car was a total loss.