When Bart Walker received a phone call one morning, he did not expect to hear that a drunk driver had crashed into the Fifth Street Church of Christ in Beaverton, where he is an elder of the church.
Earlier that day, Beaverton police say 20-year-old Walberto Villatoro-Morales of Beaverton crashed his car into the church. Officers responded to the scene after reports of a loud crash near the intersection of Southwest Fifth Street and Filbert Avenue, slightly after 4 a.m.
The Church of Christ sustained significant structural damage as a result of the high-speed impact.
"It was a shock," recalled Walker after seeing the damage at the church near downtown Beaverton. "It was a big surprise, obviously. Nothing that we would have ever expected, and we've been in that location for a very long time and haven't had any issues like that."
The damage was mainly to the front porch area and not the building itself, and Walker said the church was able to hold services the following Sunday.
However, church leaders are still assessing the damage and working with their insurance company to find out how much it will cost until the front of the building is fixed. Walker expects the damage to be mostly covered by insurance.
When asked how people can assist the church during this time, he said, "The biggest thing people can do for us is just get their lives right with God. The financial side is not a worry for us. We're in good shape and appreciate the support that people have voiced to us via email and voicemail that type of thing."
As for Easter celebrations, Walker says the mishap shouldn't be too much of an impact leading up to April 4.
"We feel fortunate that it could have been much worse, and I'm glad that the young man survived and didn't have a significant injury," he said.
Villatoro-Morales was arrested and charged with felony attempt to elude, driving under the influence of intoxicants, reckless driving, reckless endangering and criminal mischief in the first degree.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.