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South Abilene church facing financial hit after SUV crash

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ABILENE, Texas - Members of Elmwood Baptist Church in south Abilene showed up for Wednesday night services the day after a man drove his SUV into the side of the building.

"I mean, it's not going to stop us from worshipping," said Rebecca Houston, a church member.

It didn't stop anyone from worshipping, but the crash Tuesday knocked out a few pews inside -- including where Irene Watson usually sits.

"That could have hit me if I'd been sitting there," Watson said. "So, I just thank God nobody was there during the time."

With a congregation of about 20 regulars, most on fixed incomes, Pastor Malcom Johnson said the $2,500 deductible to fix the damage will be a tough hit. They already have to pay a separate deductible for another insurance claim to fix their roof, which was damaged by high winds just a few weeks ago.

"We'll be doing some extra donations, some extra collections and anything else we can come up with to raise the funds," Johnson said. "So, any help is greatly needed."

Police believe the driver of the SUV, whose identity has not yet been released, was under the influence of an unknown drug at the time. Church members are thankful he survived the crash and hope it serves as a wake-up call for him.

"You know he could have ran into anything, but he ran into the church, and that's God's way of saying you need to change your life," Watson said.

The driver was taken to the hospital with unknown injuries. We checked with police Wednesday afternoon and he had not been arrested on charges related to the crash.

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