Driver killed when his car slams into a church in South Los Angeles

A fatal crash in South Los Angeles claimed the life of one man and, not for the first time, severely damaged a church. A Los Angeles Police Department spokesperson told KTLA that the collision happened on East Manchester Avenue in L.A.'s Green Meadows neighborhood around 12:20 a.m. Saturday.
One person was killed and another injured when their vehicle slammed into a church in South Los Angeles early Saturday. (KTLA-TV)

A driver was killed and his passenger injured when his SUV slammed into a church in South Los Angeles, authorities said.

The crash took place shortly after midnight Saturday morning, when the driver — a man in his 40s — was heading west on Manchester Avenue, according to Norma Eisenman, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles Police Department.

The vehicle struck a light pole and then the building, causing the driver to be ejected, Eisenman said. He was pronounced dead at the scene, and his injured passenger was taken to a hospital, she said.

The collision caused major damage to Challenge of Faith Church of God in Christ, on Manchester just west of Central Avenue. Building inspectors have yellow-tagged the church, designating part of the structure as off limits, according to one city official.

David Jessie, an assistant pastor at the church, told KTLA-TV that cars have crashed into the church before — a situation he attributed to dangerous road conditions on Manchester. Church leaders have previously asked city leaders to do something about a nearby dip in the road, he said.

"We have been through this so many times," he told the station.

An aide to Los Angeles City Councilmember Curren Price, who represents the area, said her office received a complaint from the church in August 2022 about the condition of the street. Weeks later, the city resurfaced a stretch of Manchester between Central Avenue and Broadway, said Angelina Valencia-Dumarot, the Price aide.

Price, after learning about the latest crash, plans to contact the city's Bureau of Street Street Services about making additional fixes to the roadway, Valencia-Dumarot said.

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.