A four-door Pontiac almost made it through one end and out the other of a Victoria church Tuesday.

“I was like, did this really just happen?” said the Pontiac’s driver and Victoria mother Alexis Tapia, 24.

A collision with a red Toyota Corolla caused Tapia’s black Pontiac G6 to jump the curb, barrel over the lawn, punch through an exterior wall and tunnel through the library and worship space at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Victoria. No one was inside at the time.

Police and firefighters arrived to find a gaping, car-sized hole on one side of the church and the Pontiac’s front poking out the other.

From the roadway, the Pontiac’s rear license plate, but little else, could be glimpsed through the church’s exterior. A pile of books from the church’s library rested on its windshield and religious figurines and iconography lay among insulation, Sheetrock and other scattered debris inside.

Although Tapia’s 7-month-old daughter was riding in the Pontiac at the time, no one was injured.

“The first thing I was thinking was, ‘Oh my God, my baby. Is she OK?’” Tapia said.

Officer Steven Castaneda, of the Victoria Police Department, said Gresle Cruz, of Victoria, who was driving a red Toyota Corolla, caused the crash by pulling past the stop sign on North Nimitz Street.

Cruz could not be reached for comment.

Tapia, who was driving west on Crestwood Drive in the outside lane, could not avoid Cruz’s stopped Toyota.

The impact into Cruz’s front, left side caused her to lose control, sending her car into the church.

“When I hit that car, my car went crazy,” Tapia said.

Although police issued no citations at the scene, they may consider one for Cruz for failing to yield the right of way, Castaneda said.

Church member and treasurer Jim Holm, 77, said about 30 members attend the church, which hosts regular Sunday services and other events.

Although the church, which is at least a decade old, is insured, members will accept donations to aid in relocating.

Holm described Unitarian Universalism as a religion that studies religion through a variety of perspectives.

“We need to find another place for Sunday,” he said matter-of-factually.

Jon Wilcox reports on courts for the Victoria Advocate. He may be reached jwilcox@vicad.com or 361-580-6515.

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Jon covers crime, public safety and the courts at the Victoria Advocate. Born in Huntsville, Ala., he grew up in Atlanta, Ga. and obtained a bachelor's degree in journalism at Texas State University.

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