A Florida man credits sturdy church pews for saving his life after a car crashed into his house of worship Sunday night.
On April 20, Moise Gourdet, 37, was attending an Easter concert at Second Haitian Baptist Church when a car plowed between two brick columns.
"If not for the pews, I'd be dead," Gourdet told News-Press. "God or Jesus Christ made that happen."
Most of the church's sanctuary was demolished by the impact.
The Fort Myers Police Department said that around 8 p.m., a 2006 Lexus driven by 31-year old Marie Ange Masson crashed into the church. She told police that she was pulling into the church parking lot when the brakes on her car failed. A six-year old in the car, Spenser Joram, escaped uninjured.
Many worshippers were trapped under pews and under the Lexus after the crash. Uninjured members ran to their cars to get jacks and worked together to lift the car off other church members. About 200 people were inside the sanctuary at the time of the accident.
18 people were taken to the hospital, and most of them were treated and released. Six people, two of them elderly, remain in the hospital in fair or good condition.
The church's pastor, Rev. Desamour Leontes, said that he did not know Masson, but talked to her on Monday.
"I spoke with her this morning, and she was crying," he told News-Press. "I told her you don't have to cry. Be strong."
A church member, Jean Lima, stated that God's hand was over the accident.
"If God wasn't there, too many people die," Lima said. "He was watching over us."
Pastor Leontes echoed that sentiment, and acknowledged that the accident could have been far worse.
"Glory to God that nobody died," he stated.