Elderly woman crashes car into a Hayward church

Organizers of a food pantry held at Hayward church are working around a big mess after a car crashed right through the doors.
January 15, 2014 5:30:26 PM PST
Parishioners and organizers of a food pantry held at an East Bay church are working around a big mess after a car crashed right through the doors. That car was driven by a woman who somehow managed to avoid a group of people. Instead, her car hit the church organ and landed on the altar. The accident disrupted the food bank at New Bridges Presbyterian Church in Hayward.

This is home to the South Hayward Parish Emergency Food Pantry. Over three dozen people were inside Tuesday afternoon. None of them were prepared for what would come crashing through the door.

"I was thinking, this looks like a movie," said Beth DeForest with South Hayward Parish Food Pantry

But it wasn't. It was real, very real. The tire tracks, broken fence, and plywood covering an area where church doors used to be only tell part of the story. Another photo, showing a 2007 Toyota Camry sitting where the church's altar once stood, tells the rest.

"There was a lot of running and screaming and grabbing of children," DeForest said.

Police tell ABC7 News the driver was an 81-year-old Hayward woman who became confused while trying to park her car. They believe she may have hit the gas pedal instead of the brakes.

"First thing she said when I got to her was 'did I hurt anyone?' That was her first concern," said DeForest.

There were no injuries to the driver or to those in line for the food pantry. New Bridges Presbyterian Church, however, will need a cosmetic and structural makeover. The cost to fix the damage is expected to be in the thousands of dollars.

"This is an extremely busy place," said Ralph Morales with the South Hayward Parish Food Pantry. "Four days a week we give out food. One day a week we have a senior lunch."

Much of that will continue. The church is still accepting donations for their food bank but for now, worship services normally held in the sanctuary will have to be held somewhere else.

Betty DeForest shared an exchange she had with a parishioner.

"It was just amazing no one was hurt, and he said 'no, it wasn't amazing, this is a sacred place and God was watching,'" DeForest said.


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