ST. FRANCIS COUNTY, Ark. — A police chase ended with a pickup truck in a church and a woman dead.
According to the St. Francis County Sheriff's Office, Arkansas State Police saw a stolen vehicle and started chasing after it around 8:30 a.m. Tuesday. The truck hit speeds of around 100 mph.
"I'm feeling kind of sad because the individual lost their life, I'm not concerned about the material building," said Pastor Marlan Brown.
There's a gaping hole inside Riverside Baptist Church in St. Francis County after a truck slammed into the building and caught fire. Brown says he's more worried about the victims who were involved in a wild police chase on I-40. The chase took a turn for the worse at the Widener exit.
"It was very fortunate he got off the interstate to get away from other traffic because he had been driving extremely reckless and endangering the lives of everyone he was coming in contact with," Sgt. Eddie Adamson.
From there the truck went through a gravel parking lot and slammed into a wooden fence. You can still see the tire marks before the driver crashed into the church. Thankfully no one was inside.
Brown tells me they were getting ready to renovate the building to use as a center for at-risk youth. Currently it was a storage space filled with supplies. Now everything is destroyed, and bricks and concrete lay scattered across the parking lot.
"We have to do some more investigating on the build structure and see if we can do the repairing or do we need to get rid of the whole thing and start from new," said Brown.
The passenger, a 22-year-old woman was killed on impact. Police arrested the driver Jacob Bowman. He faces charges of first-degree murder, reckless driving and fleeing from police, among several other charges.
As much trouble as Bowman reportedly caused, the pastor looks past that and wishes he could reach out to him.
"I would try to mentor him and tell him how important life is," said Brown. "I would want to tell him about how Christ love him and this was so unnecessary."
The woman who died has not yet been identified, pending notification of next of kin.
According to the sheriff's office, there were also drugs inside the vehicle.
Bowman is from Kingsport, Tennessee, but authorities said the truck he was driving was stolen out of Texas.
Arkansas State Police is investigating with help from St. Francis County Sheriff's Office.