COLUMBIA — A 21-year-old man drove through the front of the First Presbyterian Church on Friday night, missing nearly 60 people gathered inside, Columbia Police Department spokeswoman Jill Wieneke said.
At about 10:45 p.m., Columbia Police Officer Patrick Corcoran attempted to pull over a silver Chevy Monte Carlo at the intersection of Hitt and Cherry streets because he believed the driver was impaired, Wieneke said.
Less than a minute later, the driver of the car began to pull forward slowly then backed up into the police car at least once and drove through the front window of the church, she said.
Inside, about 50 adults and junior and senior high students were gathered in the main lobby for a youth retreat. The students came from four or five churches from surrounding areas, Wieneke said.
No one inside the church was injured in the accident, she said.
Corcoran was able to get into the building and detain Scott Andrew Robinson, 21, in connection with the accident within minutes, Wieneke said.
The car went through the window at a slow speed and traveled about 170 feet until it hit the opposite wall of the building, Wieneke said.
It did not appear that the driver was injured in the accident, she said.
Corcoran was taken to the hospital for precautionary measures, Wieneke said.
The cost of the damage has not been estimated, she said.
Robinson was arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated, first-degree property damage and first-degree assault of a police officer, according to a news release.
The bond totals to $5,000 for the first two charges, and a judge has not yet set the bond for the assault charge, the release stated.