Update: The investigation into the Easter crash at the Second Haitian Baptist Church located at 3660 Central Avenue suite #13 is now complete. The driver of the Lexus that drove through the structure injuring 18 people has been cited with careless driving.
Marie Masson advised Traffic Homicide Investigator Officer Lesa Breneman that her brakes failed as she drove into the parking lot of the church. An inspection of the Lexus’ braking system by an ASE certified mechanic found the system to be functioning properly and no evidence of a brake failure.
The decision to find Masson at fault was based on statements made at the scene, speed estimations and the vehicle inspection during the follow up investigation. Masson will have to appear in court on the civil citation due to the crash having serious injuries.
On April 20, 2014 at 7:55 p.m. the Fort Myers Police Department responded to a report of a traffic accident at the Second Haitian Baptist Church located at 3660 Central Avenue suite #13. Upon arrival officers discovered a four-door Lexus sedan had driven through an exterior wall of the church and injured multiple parishioners who were attending an Easter service.
The venue had over 200 attendees when the vehicle crashed through the wall driving over several occupied pews. Fellow parishioners used vehicle jacks and brute force to lift the vehicle in order to rescue several others trapped beneath the Lexus sedan while waiting for medics.
Close to two dozen people injured during the crash were taken to local hospitals with several subjects transported as trauma alerts in serious condition.
Traffic Homicide Investigator Officer Lesa Breneman’s preliminary investigation revealed the female driver and sole occupant of the Lexus entered the parking lot and reported a brake failure prior to crashing through the church wall. Officer Breneman remains on scene during the active traffic crash investigation.
“At this point the investigation is being treated as a very unfortunate accident rather than a criminal act”, according to police spokesman Lieutenant Victor Medico.
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