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The Villages
Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Damaged church with patched wall still deemed unsafe after fatal crash

A church on Cherry Lake Road that was the scene of a violent fatal crash Monday night has been declared unsafe by Sumter County building officials.

A makeshift memorial to 21-year-old crash victim Dallas Clark has been set up outside the True Temple Church of the Living God on Cherry Lake Road. Clark died after his pickup rolled several times and slammed into the building on Monday night. Several construction companies working on a nearby project donated materials and their time to cover the hole that was punched into the building during the violent crash.
Dallas Clark, 21, of Leesburg was killed Monday night when his vehicle crashed into a church on Cherry Lake Road.

The True Temple Church of the Living God, located just outside The Villages, was heavily damaged at about 8:15 p.m. when a pickup truck driven by 21-year-old Leesburg resident Dallas Clark flipped several times and slammed into the main building. Clark died at the scene and the impact left a gaping hole in the church’s concrete block wall.

The day after the incident, Nehemiah Wolfe, who serves as head of Community Watch in The Villages, reached out to Sumter County sheriff’s Lt. Robert Siemer, district commander for The Villages, and told him the church needed assistance in boarding up the hole left by crash.

A gaping hole was left in the side of the True Temple Church of the Living God on Monday night after a fatal crash involving a pickup truck driven by 21-year-old Dallas Clark of Leesburg.
This sign on the door of the True Temple Church of the Living God on Thursday warned people to stay out of the building on Cherry Lake Road that was damaged in a fatal crash on Monday night.

They went to a nearby construction site and after explaining the situation, came away with a short-term solution for the church. WPDC Construction offered to donate the supplies to patch the hole, while crews from Dewitt Custom Concrete, Adriano GB Brick Pavers and Bergeron Framing also donated their time and materials to help with the project.

But on Thursday the notice on the door made it clear that church members couldn’t use the building until more extensive repairs are completed. Outside the damaged structure and just in front of the Elder Mary Newsom Hudson Church Fellowship Hall, a makeshift memorial had been put into place paying homage to Clark, a 2018 graduate of Leesburg High School who played football for the Yellow Jackets.

Many of his friends and family members took to Facebook after the crash to share fond memories of the former center and nose guard who also served as a Florida Department of Corrections officer.

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