The Lighthouse Christian Church continues to work toward repairs after a drunk driver allegedly struck the front of the building.
“It’s going good,” Pastor Gloria Kuipers said. “Things are progressing.”
The entrance of the church was damaged after 21-year-old Lanoka Harbor resident Randy Rozell’s vehicle left the roadway, became airborne and collided with the building on Friday, April 27.
Rozell, who was transported to Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune for head injuries, was charged with DWI and other motor vehicle-related offenses. Rozell was discharged from the hospital on Tuesday, May 1, said hospital spokesperson Maureen Gillespie.
Rozell’s passenger, 22-year-old Robert Plaschke of Forked River, also suffered head injuries and was transported to Jersey Shore University Medical Center. Gillespie did not have information on Plashke.
The Lighthouse Christian Church will not be pressing charges, Kuipers said.
Deacon Doreen Orr said on Friday that Lacey police notified church Pastor Jim Kuipers just after the accident had occurred, and accompanied him to the scene, where crash debris was located all over the front of the church property.
“A street sign was taken down, part of the fence outside the church was taken down, the top of our flagpole was on the opposite side of the church’s front step, and we found both a license plate and fender sticking out of the road,” said Orr. “The crash impacted the entire front of the church, which is separate from the rest of the building.”
Orr explained that she was told by structural engineers the impact of the vehicle driven by Rozell caused the entire front of the building to shift approximately eight inches from the foundation.
The church is currently working with a builder who has sent repair prices over to the insurance agency, Pastor Gloria Kuipers said. Repairs will amount to approximately $40,000.
The steeple in the front of the church, the foyer and bathrooms underneath the foyer will need to be entirely rebuilt, Pastor Jim Kuipers said. Repairs will also have to be made to the landscapting and fence.
Pastor Gloria Kuipers could not say when the church will be repaired but hopes construction will begin by the beginning of next week.
In the meantime, the church is in service. Damage was confined to the front end of the church, Kuipers said, so access is still available in the back.
The Lighthouse Christian Church went on with their Sunday service last weekend despite the damage due to the accident, she said. The church had members of the parish stationed at the bottom of the backdoor steps to assist those in need of help since there was no access to the handicap ramp.
“We’re just really grateful for all the support of the people,” Kuipers said.
Since the accident, the church has been receiving calls. The Cedar Creek Community Church in Berkeley Township even offered their building to be temporarily utilized by the parish of the Lighthouse Christian Church.
“It’s overwhelming, the kindness people are showing,” she said.