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Church shattered by dump truck left with uncertainty

July 15, 2014 News Extra

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ZELIENOPLE — Park United Presbyterian Church has been left with a lot of uncertainty after its building was badly damaged Monday when a truck crashed into it.

The church is unsure of the extent of the damage and when it will be able to use its building again, Pastor Paul Merrill said Monday afternoon.

The accident happened around 8:45 a.m. when a Mack CL700 dump truck driven by David Cumming, 53, of Geneva-on-the-Lake, Ohio, traveling west on Route 68, veered off the road.

The truck hit a utility pole, a parked car in the church parking lot and then ran into the side of the church, said Sgt. Chuck Carlson of Zelienople police.

Merrill said no one was in the church at the time of the crash, but he heard it happen from his residence next door.

“I heard multiple smashings and crashings, it sounded like a multicar collision,” he said.

The Baden Fire Department specializes in stabilizing buildings with structural damage and was brought in to “shore up” the corner of the building so the truck could be safely removed Monday afternoon, said borough manager Don Pepe.

Engineers from both the church and Diamond Head Trucking’s insurance companies inspected the building Monday. Merrill said the church would not have a full estimate of the damages until its claims adjuster visits the building Wednesday. In the meantime, the church will be unable to use its main building, though it does have another small building on the property.

Police Chief Jim Miller said a small area in Four Corners Park would likely still be roped off for Horse Trading Days, which starts Thursday and uses the park for its vendors. Miller said he expects the sidewalk to be reopened by then and the impact on the festival to be minimal.

The church also has a vacation Bible school planned for next week, which may have to change locations.

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