Families recall frightening church accident - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Families recall frightening church accident

A frightening accident that involved an SUV crashing into a church in Longview caused some tense moments for families not knowing who was injured. A total of five people were injured in the incident which happened right when the kids were having lunch at Spring Hill First Baptist church.

The scene was like something out of a movie, as church teachers say suddenly the building went black.

"It sounded like a bomb went off, it was very frightening," said Spring Hill First Baptist teacher Debbie Fennell.

Mike Fennell, the Judson Metro Fire Chief, then got a frantic phone call.

"My wife called me very upset screaming and told me to get to the Spring Hill church as quick as I could, and there had been an accident. My wife was here. My grandson was here. I knew it was bad," he says.

Debbie Fennell rushed in the dark to the kids, hearing the sounds of their cries.

"Some were saying call my momma, others said, ‘I'm bleeding.' All these teachers, we are very protective of them. But I also had a grandchild in that room-- my heart just sunk," Debbie says.

Through dust and debris, Mike Fennell performed triage on some of the kids.

"When I first got here, I saw kids that were bloody, saw a teacher bloody, they were cut up, bruised and screaming," Mike says.

He then looked through the damage for his grandson.

"He was kind of standing there with his hands in his pockets in a daze, and when he saw me he came to me and we just cried together," says Mike.

In those few minutes, the Fennell's did not let hope fade.

"I had to go from being a firefighter to a parent and a grandparent very, very quickly," Mike says.

Police say the driver Kelly Burke told them he fell asleep because he works a day-labor job and simply fell asleep at the wheel. They believe no drugs or alcohol were involved and no problems were found with the vehicle. Burke was released from the hospital and was cited for no drivers license and no insurance.

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