CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Members of Graham A.M.E Church on the corner of Wapoo and Ashley River Road say the building has been hit by cars four times in five years.
Most recently, it happened on Thursday morning when an alleged DUI driver plowed through barriers in front of the church and into the building.
Now the congregation is asking the city to help them with a permanent solution to their safety concerns.
Members say this time is the worst.
Diane Hamilton has attended the church since she was a child. She says she was shocked to hear a crash had happened again.
“I could not believe it," Hamilton said. "This is why we put up the bollards after the last hit. The bollards did help because a car did come into it and the bollards protected the building itself. But this time you can see the bollards didn’t protect the building at all.”
The stained glass window that has been in place for more than 20 years was shattered. The church’s bathroom was also destroyed.
Now, the congregation feels their hands are tied because they’ve been told that they can’t put up stronger barriers.
“We were wondering if the city or some entity could put up a stronger barrier and they said no that was not required," Hamilton said. "But I think we have the evidence that is required. This church’s front yard used to extend all the way out there. But each time they widen 61 and Wappoo they take away some of the church land.”
Some are concerned that an upcoming widening project of the intersection may do more harm than good.
“They have come out and they have checked, she said. "We’ve also had the county out. We’ve talked to our council representative. We’ve talked to our city council representative. We’ve talked to the director of transportation for this city, he’s aware of what a dangerous spot this is. They’re plans now to work on the intersection here.”
Hamilton says if they can’t find a solution, the church plans to move their sanctuary to a property next door.