Teenage couple killed in two separate car accidents after crashing into the same church just days apart

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By Asiya Ali

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A teenage couple tragically died in two separate freak car wrecks after they each crashed into the same church just days apart. 

At approximately 1:28AM on June 20, Anthony Banks Jr. lost control of his car and slammed into the Riverside Baptist Church.

The church erupted into flames which quickly spread throughout the entire building and resulted in the 19-year-old losing his life.

The fiery aftermath required both the Pell City Fire Department and Riverside Fire and Rescue at the scene to put out the blazes.

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

"The fire is believed to have started from a passenger vehicle leaving the roadway and crashing into the basement of the church. One male was found deceased inside the vehicle. The identification of the male is unknown at this time," they said.

"Riverside Baptist Church has been a staple in our small town for decades," the statement continued. "Our thoughts and prayers are with them and the family of the deceased during this difficult time."

Screenshot 2024-06-26 at 13.34.43.pngCredit: GoFundMe

Three days later, Anthony's girlfriend, Jennefer Arellano-Maldonado, was killed in the same spot.

According to USA Today, the 19-year-old was trying to evade police just before 1:00AM on Sunday (June 23) when the 2019 BMW X5 she was driving hit a brick wall and caught on fire. She wasn't wearing a seatbelt at the time and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Senior Alabama State Trooper Brandon Bailey said the car had been stolen from a family member, per Daily Mail.

In the wake of their untimely deaths, Anthony's family has set up a GoFundMe to help cover funeral expenses. As of this writing, $450 has been raised from the $10,000 goal.

"[Anthony's] life hadn't even got started goof before he tragically taken from this world as I write this tears flow uncontrollably praying for this all to be some nightmare we will all wake from soon," the family penned.

Friends have also honored the late couple on social media. 

"My two loves, get some rest y'all will be missed. Anthony & Jennifer RIP," one person shared on Facebook, adding pictures of the pair.

An investigation into both horrific accidents is ongoing by the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency.

Our thoughts are with everyone affected by this tragedy.

Featured image credit: Helen H. Richardson/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images / Getty

Teenage couple killed in two separate car accidents after crashing into the same church just days apart

vt-author-image

By Asiya Ali

Article saved!Article saved!

A teenage couple tragically died in two separate freak car wrecks after they each crashed into the same church just days apart. 

At approximately 1:28AM on June 20, Anthony Banks Jr. lost control of his car and slammed into the Riverside Baptist Church.

The church erupted into flames which quickly spread throughout the entire building and resulted in the 19-year-old losing his life.

The fiery aftermath required both the Pell City Fire Department and Riverside Fire and Rescue at the scene to put out the blazes.

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

"The fire is believed to have started from a passenger vehicle leaving the roadway and crashing into the basement of the church. One male was found deceased inside the vehicle. The identification of the male is unknown at this time," they said.

"Riverside Baptist Church has been a staple in our small town for decades," the statement continued. "Our thoughts and prayers are with them and the family of the deceased during this difficult time."

Screenshot 2024-06-26 at 13.34.43.pngCredit: GoFundMe

Three days later, Anthony's girlfriend, Jennefer Arellano-Maldonado, was killed in the same spot.

According to USA Today, the 19-year-old was trying to evade police just before 1:00AM on Sunday (June 23) when the 2019 BMW X5 she was driving hit a brick wall and caught on fire. She wasn't wearing a seatbelt at the time and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Senior Alabama State Trooper Brandon Bailey said the car had been stolen from a family member, per Daily Mail.

In the wake of their untimely deaths, Anthony's family has set up a GoFundMe to help cover funeral expenses. As of this writing, $450 has been raised from the $10,000 goal.

"[Anthony's] life hadn't even got started goof before he tragically taken from this world as I write this tears flow uncontrollably praying for this all to be some nightmare we will all wake from soon," the family penned.

Friends have also honored the late couple on social media. 

"My two loves, get some rest y'all will be missed. Anthony & Jennifer RIP," one person shared on Facebook, adding pictures of the pair.

An investigation into both horrific accidents is ongoing by the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency.

Our thoughts are with everyone affected by this tragedy.

Featured image credit: Helen H. Richardson/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images / Getty