One south Florida man earnestly thanked God, and one of his favorite seats, for saving his life this Easter.
According to the Fort Myers News-Press, Moise Gourdet was sitting in a church pew at the Second Haitian Baptist Church in Fort Myers on Sunday night when a car punched through wall of the sanctuary, throwing pews and the other congregation members into a jumbled mess.
Gourdet, 37, a Fort Myers resident, said he believes God, and the strong wooden pews protected him and his Church family from a violent fate.
"If not for the pews, I'd be dead," he said.
Gourdet said the crash happened so quickly that he didn't know what was going on until he was under the vehicle, a 2006 Lexus.
He escaped with minor injuries. Others at the church for an Easter concert weren't as fortunate, though. Six were hospitalized after the incident, but all are expected to recover.
The invading automobile was driven by Marie Ange Masson, 31, of Fort Myers. Spenser Joram, 6, was in the car with her. Police said he was uninjured.
Pastor Desamour Leontes told reporters the next day that the crash could have been worse.
"Glory to God that nobody died," he said near the boarded up church wall where the car had plowed through. "We still have six or seven still in the hospital."
After the accident, the pastor and others immediately went to work lifting and freeing people from the carnage.
Leontes said the effort was made without thought and with a lot of adrenalin. "I had blood on my shirt," he said. He didn't even notice until after it was over.
The pastor said that Masson is not a member of the church and he did not know her. He said she was terribly upset about the accident, and was crying the next day when he talked with her by phone.
"I told her you don't have to cry. Be strong," he told the News-Press.
Leontes said he would consult with the church committee to figure out how and when repairs could be made and when the church will reopen.
Plywood boards covered the hole between two brick columns that was barely wide enough for the Lexus to pass through.
Gourdet said he feels lucky to be alive. "God or Jesus Christ made that happen," he said.