Couple killed in separate fiery wrecks, days apart, crashing into the same Alabama church

A couple crashed into the same church in Alabama days apart, and both met the same fate, officials said.

Riverside officials responded to a report of a fire at a local Baptist church in St. Clair County, Alabama, last Thursday around 1:30 a.m., according to WBRC and

"A defensive operation was established as fire had spread quickly throughout the building," Riverside Fire and Rescue Service said in a statement. "Aerial operations began soon after first arriving units. Crews battled the fire through the entire night and into early dawn."

Officials believed that someone had crashed into the church's basement after leaving the roadway, about 40 miles east of Birmingham.

The remains inside the vehicle were later identified as 19-year-old Anthony Banks Jr, per the news outlet.

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Officials said Banks' girlfriend collided into the same church in stolen vehicle, reports say

Three days later, Banks' girlfriend, Jennefer L. Arellano Maldonado, crashed into the same church while trying to evade police just before 1:00 a.m. Sunday, per the news reports.

Officials said she hit a brick wall, and her car caught on fire. According to the outlets, Arellano Maldonado was driving a 2019 BMW X5, which authorities alleged was stolen from her aunt.

She was determined dead at the scene.

USA TODAY reached out to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency and Riverside Police for additional comment.

Taylor Ardrey is a news reporter for USA TODAY. You can reach her at

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fiery wrecks at Alabama church kill woman, her boyfriend days apart