Shockwaves traveled through the Harvest Tabernacle Bible Church family upon learning that an SUV crashed through their building on Dec. 11.
The LAPD reported that the vehicle struck a traffic signal then careened into the church located on the corner of 55th Street and Holmes Ave., in South Los Angeles. Fortunately, the accident occurred about 1:15 a.m. and the building was unoccupied. However, the downed utility pole led to city workers deactivating power lines in the area, said Officer G. Lopez of LAPD Newton Station.
Since Harvest Tabernacle sits in a residential area, neighbors and congregants quickly notified Pastor Donald Cook II about the incident via phone calls and texts. Cook also commended LAPD and city transportation staff for their prompt contact and response.
“Thanks to the support of the community, we were alerted very quickly on what had happened,” said Cook. “People across the street were calling, members were calling and the police department found our information on Facebook and our website, so they were calling us as well. We also saw it on the news.”
As the sun rose, city staff was repairing the utility pole, officers had arranged for the heavily damaged SUV to be towed, and Cook was planning the church’s next steps.
“We’re going to continue to move forward in making sure we can board up this property and get it back to 100%. It’s definitely not going to stop worship services. We’re going to praise the Lord on Sunday,” he insisted.
LAPD’s Lopez said the driver fled before officers arrived on the scene, but police are investigating whether the vehicle was used in crime before the accident occurred.
Despite the unexpected crash, Cook noted a bright spot about the incident. “I’m excited and happy that we do have the support of the community,” he said. “It was serious accident and something that could have been worse than what it was.”
Harvest Tabernacle Bible Church has been a presence in the community for 40 years. Founded in 1976 by Cook’s father, the late Bishop Donald Cook, the ministry operates multiple ministries that benefit the immediate community, contributes financially to several educational institutions and supports foreign nonprofits around the world.