Local News

Truck Hits Harnett County Church

Posted April 7, 2008

Map Marker  Find News Near Me

— A Harnett County church was condemned Monday after a tractor-trailer went out of control and slammed into the front of the sanctuary and some nearby vehicles.

The truck, driven by Ellis Atkins of Statesville, hit Zion Temple Church of God of Prophecy, at 8216 U.S. Highway 421 South, at about 10 a.m. Monday, authorities said. The wreck demolished the church's front steps, but no one was injured.

"I said, 'Well, thank you Lord,' because ... it could've been another way. It could've been (Sunday), and I'm so glad God is merciful,"  said the Rev. Jeannette Barnes, pastor of Zion Temple.

Atkins, who was transporting lumber for a Statesville company, suffered a medical condition and passed out while driving, authorities said.

"He stated he had a coughing incident, started coughing real bad, and the next thing he knows, he passed out," said Master Trooper J.B. Harvey, of the state Highway Patrol.

The out-of-control rig then mowed down a tree, flipped over a church van, blasted through the church's brick front steps, ripped off its fuel tank, slammed into a Buick Riviera and limped to a standstill beneath a flowering dogwood tree.

"I just heard something that sounded like thunder, and I thought maybe it was thunder," said Arthur Johnson, whose Buick was smashed during the incident.

The truck came to rest in Johnson's yard, where it leaked about 60 gallons of diesel fuel. Some of the fuel seeped into an unused well.

Atkins regained consciousness only after the truck stopped. He walked away with a few scratches, but declined to comment.

He was charged with reckless driving.

Zion Temple was condemned after an inspector deemed the building unsafe to enter. Barnes said the 35-member church would repair the building.

"We're blessed to be here today, standing and being alive. We're blessed," she said.

11 Comments

This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • Init4him Apr 8, 2008

    Quote: (Well lets start with the truck didn't overturn lets get that part right! belive me you don't roll a tractor trailer loaded full of lumber and the load stays in tact on the trailer with the tarps still on. As for the part of the paster mentioning you know who was looking out for everyone and you know who saved lives.....Yaright.)

    ??????????????? What ??????????????????

  • CombatMed Apr 7, 2008

    TreeSquire, it says in the article as plain as day that it happened today (Monday). I drove by that way on the way back from Campbell and saw the aftermath. Read people, read.

  • Mountaineer in NC Apr 7, 2008

    Thank god the driver is ok and he was able to walk away.

  • Roach Apr 7, 2008

    Treesquire,

    I am pretty sure the article says the accident happened on Monday.

  • TreeSquire Apr 7, 2008

    If the church was condemned due to structural problems, how did they hold service yesterday?

  • ptahandatum Apr 7, 2008

    Sure enough. Zeus was right there to keep any further damage from happening. Since these people are of the church of prophesy, they knew he was coming, and had their services early and left. Good for you Zeus!

  • 3potato4 Apr 7, 2008

    The charge of reckless driving doesn't seem quite right to me. It's not like he passed out intentionally. Perhaps they needed to put something on paper for insurance purposes and this seemed as handy a charge as any.

  • AC Man Apr 7, 2008

    ZMAN: the church was far from the road up to 10 years ago when the state widen the road and took the church's yard. The state need to stop wideing the roads and tooken the land.

  • yaright Apr 7, 2008

    Well lets start with the truck didn't overturn lets get that part right! belive me you don't roll a tractor trailer loaded full of lumber and the load stays in tact on the trailer with the tarps still on. As for the part of the paster mentioning you know who was looking out for everyone and you know who saved lives.....Yaright.

  • Z Man Apr 7, 2008

    They gotta stop building churches so close to the road!

More...