SUV crashes through East Texas church

By Lakecia Shockley - bio | email

GILMER, TX (KLTV) - It was a rude awakening at an east Texas church, as an SUV comes crashing into the sanctuary right before morning worship service.

It happened in Upshur County at Zion Hill Baptist Church on Poppy Road near Gilmer. DPS officials say shortly after 11 a.m. Sunday, an elderly female driver came crashing through, injuring three people.

The legs of 14 year old Zaneta Ray are bruised and bandaged after an SUV ran over them.

"The skin came all the way off," said Ray.  "I got burns on both of my legs and they told me that I wouldn't be able to walk right now."

And yet she's still blessed.

"I'm blessed to be alive because it's not like the worst thing but something else could have happened. I could have died."

Zaneta was sitting inside "Zion Hill Baptist Church" when a church member--a 66 year old elderly woman, came plowing through the church in her SUV.

"I was sitting in the middle part of the church and I turned around and it was just like a big crash noise and I turned around and I seen a big suv."

Photos captured by Upshur County DPS show just how bad the accident was. The SUV crashed from the back of the church and drove all to the front of the church, coming to a stop at the pulpit.

"I don't know if I ran or whatever, but I just fell to the ground, and then I couldn't move, so I tried to get up and then I fell."

Zaneta managed to save her 4 year old sister, who was also in the path of the SUV. But they weren't the only ones injured. Troopers say one man was pinned under a pew after the SUV ran over it.

Troopers say it appears the driver suffered a diabetic attack and blacked-out. She thought she hit the brakes, but instead hit the gas. Now, church members are just thankful that all three victims are still alive.

"I got hurt but still God didn't let nothing really bad happen to nobody. Like nobody is dead," said Ray.

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