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Friday, December 15, 2017 Elyria
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Vehicle crashes into church in Lorain

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    Lorain firefighters survey the scene at St Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church on Tower Boulevard on Thursday in Lorain.

    BRUCE BISHOP / CHRONICLE

  • st-nicholas-car-jpg

    This vehicle was pulled out of St Nicholas Greek Orthodox church on Tower Boulevard in Lorain on Thursday.

    BRUCE BISHOP / CHRONICLE

  • st-nicholas-hit-vehicle-jpg

    Lorain firefighters respond to St Nicholas Greek Orthodox church on Tower Boulevard in Lorain.

    BRUCE BISHOP / CHRONICLE

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LORAIN — A Lorain woman crashed her sport utility vehicle into the side of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church on Thursday afternoon.

Rita Daniels, 60, of Lorain, was traveling westbound on Tower Boulevard toward the intersection with Palm Springs Avenue when she lost control of her Mercury Mountaineer just east of the intersection, according to Lorain police. Daniels then overcorrected, entered the intersection and ran off the right side of the road into a front yard, police said.

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Lorain firefighters survey the scene at St Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church on Tower Boulevard on Thursday in Lorain.

BRUCE BISHOP / CHRONICLE Enlarge

She then collided with a TruGreen truck that was parked on the street and her vehicle continued on until it ran into an outside wall of the church and came to rest inside a classroom, police said.

Police believe the Daniels lost control of the vehicle as a result of a medical condition.

Daniels was taken to Mercy Regional Medical Center with non-incapacitating injuries, according to police. She had three juveniles in the vehicle with her, all of whom were checked out at the scene and declined to be taken to the hospital.

Lorain police and fire departments were on the scene.

“We inspected the building, and had the Building Department out,” Assistant Fire Chief Gary Burls said. “This one room is out of service, of course, because it has a big hole in the wall. They’ve got to put a couple jacks in to support it, but there’s no imminent collapse or anything like that.”

No one was inside the room when Daniels’ car struck the building, but there were people inside the church at the time. One was the Rev. Michael Gulgar.

“I was in my office, and I didn’t hear anything,” Gulgar said. “There wasn’t even a boom, a bang or nothing. I didn’t feel anything either. The building didn’t shake or anything.”

The church hoped to have the building secured by Thursday evening.

“We have to have a company come out and secure the building and board it up,” St. Nicholas president Pam Koutsaftis said. “We have to put three structural poles in immediately to keep the structure from continuing to fall. Otherwise, the building is fine. We have an event planned here for (Friday), and it’s still on.”

Koutsaftis expects the repairs to the building to be completed quickly.

“It’s a horrible thing to have happen to us, but we’ll recover,” she said. “We have the spring gyro festival here in May, and it’ll be all repaired by then.”

Contact Scott Mahoney at 329-7146 or smahoney@chroniclet.com. Follow him on Twitter @SMahoneyCT.

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