Driver charged in deadly wreck that sent SUV into church

PITT COUNTY - A man has been charged for allegedly causing an elderly driver to crash into a Pitt County church, killing her.

According to investigators, 39-year-old Thomas Grindle, of Greenville, is charged with misdemeanor death by motor vehicle.

Troopers said it all began when Grindle ran a stop sign on Ivy Road, southeast of Greenville, at about 3:15 p.m. Tuesday. Grindle's vehicle then collided with 68-year-old Faye Sadler's SUV, causing her to crash into the Cedar Chapel Free Will Baptist Church at the intersection of Ivy and Mills Roads, troopers said.

Sadler, of Winterville, died at about 10:55 a.m. Wednesday, investigators said.

According to troopers, Sadler's SUV crashed into the church's kitchen area. Witnesses said a woman and five children were in the room having a bible study just moments before the vehicle plowed through.

Jordan Puryear is one of those five children.

"Pretty scary, hard to believe that I was not in there and I was not crushed and flattened by a car," he said. "Everywhere I look around that church, the big giant Bible was not touched at all and the cross was not touched, so it made me feel kind of special."

The pastor of the church, Worth Forbes, said he arrived at the scene right after the accident happened.

"Debris was everywhere. I walked around the corner and that's when I saw a car had entered the kitchen area of the building," said Forbes.

Grindle, the driver of the other vehicle, was not hurt, troopers said. At last check, no charges had been filed.

Investigators said the wreck is the first fatal accident in the area in at least five years.

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