missouri church van drunk driver

Missouri church van hit in suspected DUI

SOUIX FALLS, S.D. – Two Missouri Baptists suffered minor injuries after a driver suspected to be under the influence hit their church van and a second car while they were in town for a mission trip.

Twelve mission trip-goers from churches in Cane Creek-Stoddard and Black River Baptist Associations were riding in a van owned by Friendship Baptist Church in Dexter the evening of Aug. 3 when police say a 20-year-old male drove his truck through an intersection going an estimated 45 mph, hitting a car and pushing it up onto the church van and “driving” it along the side.

“We could see the whole bottom of the undercarriage as it went along the side of the van,” said Butch Gamache, a member of Friendship and the driver of the van.

Gamache said he hurt his back and knee in the wreck and a passenger’s foot was pinned by the door until others could pry it open with a crowbar. Their injuries were not bad enough to cut short the mission trip.

“We’re both sore, but we were out there again the next day,” Gamache said.

The driver in the second car is “shaken up,” but did not have serious injuries. Gamache said her son, who has austism, is struggling to deal with the experience.

A local dealership checked out the van and said it was safe to drive, and a local body shop fixed a blinker and replaced a broken window for free. The group headed back to Missouri Aug. 9.

Local news reports say the driver’s Breathalyzer test was negative but police believe he was under the influence of some other substance. He had recently pleaded guilty to misdemeanor marijuana possession and is awaiting sentencing on that charge.