PINELLAS PARK, Fla. — A woman is dead and a man is in critical condition following a collision between a motorcycle and a car which caused the car to crash into a Pinellas Park church, police say.
It happened around 2:45 a.m. Thursday at Our Lady of Good Hope on 62nd Avenue North in Pinellas Park.
The Pinellas Park Police Department says a red Chevrolet Camaro and a motorcycle crashed into each other just east of the church. The car then went through the parking lot and crashed into the church.
A woman died as a result of the crash and a man was rushed to the hospital with life-threatening injuries, police say. Both were riding the motorcycle when the crash happened.
The Camaro's driver ran off before the police arrived, officers say. The car was a rental, a police spokesperson said. Police say officers are working with the rental car company to identify the driver.
No one was inside the church at the time of the crash. When church members were allowed back in, they were met with a gaping hole in their entry, pews knocked over, and drywall dust and chunks everywhere.
"We all know, when you get up in the morning, you don't know what the day brings," the acting pastor of Our Lady of Good Hope, Father Glen Miniak, said.
Miniak explained a portion of the Sunday mass will be dedicated to the crash victims.
"The church can be fixed, life can't be replaced," he said. "We will pray for them Sunday. For the recovery of the one in the hospital and the soul of the one here yesterday, gone today."
The fire marshal gave the church approval to continue using the building for services. As for the cost of repairs, it will take the church a few more days to find out the total. Miniak said the church has insurance, but the liability coverage could complicate things.
"The car that was involved was a rental. We don't know the liability on their part or the liability on the person that drove the car," he said. "Everything is a question mark right now."
Anyone with information regarding this incident is encouraged to contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-973-8477 or the Pinellas Park Police Department at 727-369-7864.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.