An 11-month-old baby died and two adults were injured in a crash at the First Baptist Church parking lot Sunday morning.
The crash happened at 11:36 a.m. as church was letting out, North Kansas City police said. The baby was rushed to an area hospital where the child was pronounced dead at 12:45 p.m. Church members said the baby was a girl named Autumn Humphrey.
The child was with her grandfather and aunt. Ronald Barnett, 65, and Stephanie Barnett, 40, suffered serious injuries, but both are expected to recover. Barnett has been released from the hospital.
The elderly driver is cooperating with investigators, police said. The identity of the 88-year-old driver is not being released by police.
The church is at East 22nd Avenue and Iron Street.
"My heart went out to everybody involved, including the driver because I'm sure there was no malice meant," Charlene Feeback said. "There was just confusion and what a thing to live with."
Witnesses told KCTV5's Eric Smith that the driver accidentally hit the gas and accelerated into the man, woman and baby. Witnesses said the man appeared to be going in reverse.
The man was parked next to a white vehicle. He apparently sideswiped a black pickup, veered over a sidewalk and hit a fire hydrant. The sedan landed just north of the intersection.
One witness described seeing the driver with a bloody nose. He apparently wasn't taken from the scene by ambulance and is expected to recover.
KCTV5's Eric Smith saw the two adults struck being carried away by ambulance.
Pastor Tiger Pennington is now trying to help church members cope with the tragedy. A business meeting scheduled for 5 p.m. Sunday turned into a prayer service.
"Grandparents grieving, aunts grieving, but also a community grieving, a church community grieving," Pennington prayed at the location of the crash after the service Sunday night. "Lord hear our prayer for mercy."
Pennington described the driver as a wonderful man, who was kind and caring.
Church members said the little girl was always overjoyed when her family picked her up from the nursery and was happy and loved.
"You can always tell a lot about a family by how the children react when their family comes to get them and Autumn was always overjoyed to see any member of her family," said Katrina Foster, who is coordinator of the daycare and a church member. 'I've been in the room with her and held her. She was very sweet, she was just a lovely little girl."
Feeback said Pennington's sermon had been about how bad things happen and how you perserve through them.
"Little did we know someone was going to be killed out there," she said.
James Stewart said he and other church members are struggling with their grief and pain.
"It's going to be real hard on everybody. The church is like family and to lose someone so tragically and so close to the church," he said. "It's going to be up close and personal for everybody."
During this tragedy, Pennington said he is seeing tremendous resolve, faith and strength from Autumn's family.
"The central belief of our faith is that death does not have the last word," he said.
KCTV5 is not identifying the driver because no charges have been filed, but spoke to his wife.
"We haven't been sleeping and we are just heartbroken," she said.
Copyright2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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