Car crashes into Grayslake church, 6 injured including driver

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Sunday, October 4, 2015
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GRAYSLAKE, Ill. (WLS) -- Police in the far northwest suburbs are working to determine how a vehicle ended up smashing through the glass entrance of a church Saturday morning, sending five people to the hospital.

The driver, a 72-year-old woman, could face charges after the crash at the Wildwood Presbyterian Church in Grayslake around 8:30 a.m. Saturday.

Crews have boarded up the outside of the church and have secured the inside wall that the car ran into. They also had to clean glass and other debris from the carpet and sidewalks outside, but the church plans to hold Sunday services as normal.

Police say the 2002 Toyota Camry was traveling fast enough to go through the glass double doors at the front entrance of the church and crash into a wall inside the church office. It sent tables outside flying.

Church volunteers were setting up for a food pantry when the car came crashing into them.

"We set up the tables here for the food distribution and this red car came right into the table, wiped out a table and went straight into the church, and it hit some people on the way," said witness Jennifer Ota.

The car also pinned one woman, a church volunteer, against the wall inside the church. Emergency crews had to cut out part of the wall to get her out.

"It was probably about a 30-minute extrication time and by the time we got her out to the hospital, it was probably about 30 minutes," said Battalion Chief James Weidman, Grayslake Fire Department.

The driver of the car was also injured. According to witnesses, she was there for the food pantry as a client. Authorities say they have not yet determined what led her to drive into the crowd and the church building.

"The accident remains under investigation by our traffic crash unit and they will try to fit the pieces of the puzzle together to determine exactly what happened (Saturday)," said Lake County Sheriff's spokesperson Christopher Covelli.

A total of five people, all church volunteers, were transported to a local hospital. None of them were considered seriously injured. Witnesses say had this crash occurred a little later in the morning, more people would have been at the church and there could have been more injuries.