NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A sacred space was destroyed by a hit-and-run driver Sunday morning.
Leaders at St. Philip’s Episcopal Church off Fairway Drive in Donelson are left cleaning up thousands of dollars in damage at their cremation garden.
“You can see the kind of drag marks of where it was hit,” Mother Caroline Osborne pointed out.
It’s destruction that’s left neighbors in the Donelson community puzzled.
“It seems like such a bizarre thing to happen even accidentally.”
It was around 8:15 a.m. Sunday, about an hour before church. Surveillance footage shows a white truck blow through a stop sign and crash into the garden.
“It’s just not a big thoroughfare, and then once they were through the intersection and into the driveway, the driveway curves. So they had to go over a noticeable curve, hit the grass, and then hit the large concrete benches and the angel,” Osborne explained.
The video shows the truck plow into hundreds of pounds of concrete before driving off.
“Those two slabs are the tops to the benches. I can’t lift them. I don’t know how they got thrown that far and the furthest piece is the top of the angel,” Osborne said.
Although concerning, Osborne is thankful the remains in the garden weren’t disturbed.
“Even though that part of the garden wasn’t affected, it’s a sense of almost violation with something like that happening in a space where people are buried,” she said.
The garden was a labor of love that was just completed earlier this year.
“We are very sad, it’s heart breaking,” Osborne explained, saying the garden was a gift from some of the church’s parishioners.
Now, the congregation is left praying for answers.
“We are not out to get someone in trouble. For the person who did this, we actually prayed for them Sunday morning in the church service. Got our kids and prayed for them, rather it was an accident or on purpose,” Osborne said. “This is one of the warmest, sweetest congregations I’ve ever met and I just can’t imagine someone having such anger at this church, but if they do, we want to know why. If there’s something we need to make right, we want to do that, and if there’s something else going on there, we just want to know,” Osborne explained.
The congregation is now looking to recreate the sacred space that was built for the community.
“To have a space like that at the church, to be able to go and sit to speak to your lost loved one, you can’t put into words; you can’t put into words,” she said.
The congregation believes the damage is likely several thousands of dollars, saying it will be a time-consuming process to recreate the garden, and one that they are considering taking extra steps now to protect.