FORT MYERS, Fla. -- An Easter Sunday celebration quickly turned into tragedy Sunday night. Inside, members of the Second Haitian Baptist Church were taking part in an Easter service, when a woman crashed her car into the side of the church. It happened around 8 p.m. According to Fort Myers Police, the driver lost control while turning into a parking space at the church on Central Ave. She told police her brakes failed.
Mary Briggs, spokeswoman for Lee Memorial Health System, said 18 people were taken to Lee County hospitals. Of those 18, four were trauma alerts. 10 went to Lee Memorial Hostpital, five were taken to Health Park (three of them children) and three were transported to Gulf Coast Medical Center.
One person was released from the hospital late Sunday night. As of noon on Monday, six people were still in the hospital. Four were in fair condition and two in good condition.
Late into the night, workers boarded up the gaping hole left in the side of the church. Church members and FMPD say the woman driving was not a member of the church, she was just visiting. WINK News has learned that driver, 31-year-old Marie Masson also had a 6-year-old boy in the car with her.
Lt. Medico says when the chaos started, the congregation went into action. "20 or more parishioners were using jacks from their cars," said Medico. "They must have came out into the parking lot and grabbed these jacks and were attempting to jack, and manually lift the vehicle off of several people that were trapped underneath."
At one point there were so many ambulances at the church, Lee County EMS had to consider calling in mutual aid from Charlotte and Collier Counties.
Count on WINK News to bring you the latest updates.