Pastor forgives driver accused of causing church fire - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Hit-and-run driver who caused church fire cited

(WMC-TV) - As the congregation of Gateway Church of God in Christ tries to restore what was lost in fire last week, Pastor Perry Little finally has the answer he has been looking for from high above.  The man who caused the house of worship to go up in flames has confessed.

"I was standing in the parking lot on the phone and when I spoke with him, he told me who he was and he had already called police," Pastor Little said.

Last week, witnesses told police a gray pick-up truck slammed into a utility pole, then sped away with heavy front end damage.

As the driver left the scene, the utility pole fell on the church.

Live electrical wires ignited a massive fire that torched the entire building.

Four people who were inside escaped unharmed.

"The hardest part is just reflecting back on all the memories in the church," Little said.

The hit-and-run driver ended up going back to the church and telling the pastor what he had done.  Little says the man then called police on himself.

"They came and I let them handle it from there, so whatever went on between him and the police, they gave me the number for the police report, but it was in their hands from that point," Little said.

The pastor said he forgives the man and no longer wants to press charges.

"All I said was the individual should come back and take responsibility for what had happened and what he did and I appreciate him for doing that," said Little.

Calvin Mitchell, 54, was cited for leaving the scene of an accident, failing to report an accident, and striking a fixed object.

Copyright 2012 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

SLIDESHOW

Updated:

View photos of the damage More>>

Powered by Frankly