Tractor-trailer crashes into Pittsylvania County church, pinning driver inside cab

Driver hospitalized, charged with reckless driving


"We heard a 'thud' sound and I looked on the side of the church and I saw some lights so I turned around. Then, we saw an 18-wheeler coming across the parking lot," Jason Kelly, said when asked what he saw when a semi-truck smashed into Open Bible Baptist Church just before 10:45 p.m. Tuesday.

Kelly was sitting in his car with his brother Isaac Hudson in front of the church when the driver of the Sheetz semi-truck heading north on Highway 29 blacked out, according to State Police.

Jason credits God for being alive.

"I was able to get (my car) in neutral. I thought I was in drive and I hit the gas pedal. It had to be God because I was able to get it down in drive and it took off," Kelly explained.

While Jason and Isaac, and Jason's car, were unharmed, the semi smashed into the front of Isaac's car.

The car had to be towed away.

Isaac described the experience as incredible.

"When it happened, I was just in shock. I didn't know what to think. It's just now processing in, like, 'What the heck just happened,'" Hudson said.

Church pastor Tim Kyser said this is not the first time church property has been damaged by a semi truck.

"I think a couple of years ago we had a tractor trailer turn over with a chemical spill. We've had a tractor trailer take out our big sign. We've been through about four or five addiction signs. We run an addictions program. We've had four or five of those gone, and we've stopped counting the mailboxes," Kyser said.

Despite all of that, he doesn't plan to move the church.

He doesn't know where Sunday service will be held now.

The driver of the semi, 65-year-old Altoona, Pennsylvania resident Herman L. Wicker, has been charged with reckless driving. He was taken to the hospital for minor injuries. 

State Police continue to investigate.



A tractor-trailer has crashed into a Pittsylvania County church, pinning the driver inside the cab, according to the Pittsylvania County Sheriff's Office. 

Authorities say the crash happened around 10:30 p.m. when the tractor-trailer crashed into the Open Bible Baptist Church on U.S. 29 in Chatham. 

The driver was pinned inside the tractor-trailer and deputies say four fire departments, the fire marshal and several rescue teams are working on the situation. 

The cause of the accident and the driver's condition are unknown at this time. 

10 News has a crew on the way to the scene to learn more. 

About the Authors:

Samantha Smith joined WSLS 10’s award-winning digital team as a content producer in July 2018.