CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Three people were rushed to the hospital, including a 2-year-old, after a police chase ended with a van crashing into a church in west Charlotte Wednesday night.
North Carolina Highway Patrol troopers tried to pull that van over for an expired tag around 9:30 p.m. but the driver refused to stop. Troopers chased the van until it crashed into the University Memorial Baptist Church on West Tyvola Road near Richard Street.
Police believe the 2-year-old was ejected from the van during the wreck. A female passenger was also hurt and police said the male driver tried to run from the accident scene but was caught by officers who had to use a taser on him.
"It's devastating," said Pastor James Palmer who said this is not the first time his church has had to deal with a wayward automobile. "[Before] they tore our fence down. The marquee has been torn down before. We just replaced it."
All three people were taken to Carolinas Medical Center with life threatening injuries, according to paramedics.
Church members said University Memorial’s location makes it a prime target for speeding or drivers who are unfamiliar with the sharp curve.
Palmer also said three of the last four drivers who crashed onto church grounds did not have insurance and with deductibles of $2,000 he doesn't know how long his church will be able to continue to paying for repairs. Palmer also said his insurer may decide to drop the church’s coverage altogether.
"I am going to get with my board and see what the insurance company does and then look at the options," Palmer said. Palmer added that the church may also have to consider the real choice of leaving its current location.
"If the insurance company says its $250,000, we may consider moving," he said.