Summarized by Kent Larsen
Man Damages LDS Chapel With Truck
Billings MT Gazette 12Apr00 D1
By Michael Milstein: Gazette Wyoming Bureau
POWELL, WYOMING -- Members of the LDS Church's Northwest College Ward
had just concluded a baptismal service on Monday when a truck driven
by a fellow Church member sped in through the building's front doors
and crashed into an interior cement wall in the gymnasium. While no
one was hurt in the incident, Powell Police arrested the 47-year-old
driver, who had apparently become angry when local Church leaders
told him on Sunday that he couldn't smoke in the building.
The bizarre incident occurred at about 4:30 p.m. on Monday when at
least 25 people were in the building for the baptism. "I'm just so
glad no one was hurt, I can't be too upset about the building," said
Bishop Dan Bennion. "The building is bricks and mortar and that can
be repaired." Police have refused to release the name of the driver
of the four-wheel drive Ford pickup, who is a member of the Powell
Bishop Bennion was surprised at the driver's actions, especially his
insistance on smoking in the chapel. "You would think he would have
known that and would not have been smoking inside," Bennion said.
"You can tell by what he did that he was not thinking rationally."
The truck broke through the building's glass front doors, and smashed
the doors to the gymnasium, colliding with one of the gymnasium's
cinder-block walls. The hardwood floor in the gymnasium was also
damaged. Bishop Bennion didn't yet have an estimate of the cost of
repairs on Tuesday.
Bennion said that church members and other volunteers spent Monday
evening cleaning up and boarding up the doors, and were able to
complete the job by Monday night, "We had more help than we could
have asked for - it was mainly church members, but others in the
community volunteered to help, too," he said. The building was able
to be used normally on Tuesday, despite the damage.