Police: Driver who rammed car through Long Island church wall arrested

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Lucy Yang has the exclusive video from Baldwin. (WABC)

Police say they have arrested a driver who smashed his car through the wall of a Long Island church hours before Sunday services.

21-year-old Sherif Wheeler, of Baldwin, was charged with leaving the scene of an incident with injury and operating without a license.

Police say he lost control of the car while traveling south on Grand Avenue in Baldwin. The car hit a tree, a fence and ultimately the Second Baptist Church in Baldwin.

Police say Wheeler fled but later surrendered to police.

Wheeler will be arraigned in court on Monday. Eyewitness News is told he was unlicensed when he smashed a luxury car into the church. His 20-year-old passenger is in the hospital.

Exclusive video shows the shocking moment of impact when the car lost control, went airborne and flew into the front of the church, taking down trees, metal fences, even the concrete faade.

The accident happened at 4:30 Sunday morning on Grand Avenue. The 2008 Blue Infiniti embedded itself sideways into the front of the church. Parishioners are giving thanks that no one died.

Seconds after the crash, others pulled out the staggering driver, then dragged the passenger away.

The church is grateful the accident did not happen a few hours later when the vestibule would have been full of morning worshipers and greeters.

"It's nothing but God," said the pastor's daughter, Tara Drinks.

Across the street is the brand new Second Baptist Church, which was just built. They were going to christen their new sanctuary on Easter Sunday, but it came a little bit early when they found a car inside their old church. Once they fix the building, it will be re-dedicated for their children's' service.

(Some information from the Associated Press.)
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