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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended April 16, 2000
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News about Mormons, Mormonism,
and the LDS Church
Sent on Mormon-News: 12Apr00

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 Second Ward.

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.


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