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NEW VIDEO: Car crashes into RTA bus before slamming into church in East Cleveland

The crash on May 24 injured three people and destroyed True and Living God Apostolic Faith Church.
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Posted at 6:55 PM, Jun 13, 2024

News 5 has obtained video from the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) showing a crash that injured several people and destroyed a church in East Cleveland on May 24.

RTA said around 2 a.m., a car crossed the center line in the area of Euclid and Doan Avenues, struck its bus and then crashed into True and Living God Apostolic Faith Church.

Newly released video shows the crash from several angles.

When the car struck, several people were on the bus, including a passenger walking to his seat after paying his fare. That man was knocked to the ground and to the front of the bus.

The bus driver was forced to climb out of the front windshield.

A report from Transit Police said the bus driver told investigators he observed a white van driving "reckless" and at a high rate of speed.

Watch News 5's original report from May 24

Church destroyed after car crashes into RTA bus

The report said Christopher Rashad Cotton was driving the sedan. He's been charged with aggravated vehicular assault, which is a third-degree felony. He's also charged with vehicular assault. Cotton has bonded out of jail. As of Thursday evening, a court date hasn't been scheduled.

The Transit Police report states Cotton "believed he was struck from behind. He stated he does not remember what else occurred. Cotton state he was going 37 MPH and cannot remember if he was wearing a seatbelt."

The report said Cotton "was trying to avoid speaking with any police officer and began walking away from the scene."

Investigators said at the scene, Cotton was on the phone with an unknown female and said, 'East Cleveland got me if you know what I mean, I'll be good.'"

The report said Cotton was taken to the hospital to be treated for injuries and "continued to act in an uncooperative manner," tried slipping out of his handcuff, which was attached to the hospital bed, and even tried to rip out his IV.

Transit Police said Cotton's girlfriend, a passenger in his vehicle, was also injured and went to the hospital and was in critical condition.

The report said Cotton was "attempting to flirt with nurses asking for their numbers while his girlfriend was critical in the room next to him."

The city of East Cleveland said Cotton once was a telecommunications officer for the city. They said he resigned on March 24, 2024- two months before the crash.

True and Living God Apostolic Faith Church has found a temporary home to hold its services and is continuing to fundraise and work on plans to find a permanent location.

Watch News 5's report from June 6 when the church's First Lady Angela Carpenter spoke about finding a temporary space to hold services

'We're in recovery mode': East Cleveland church destroyed in crash finds new temporary home
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