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  • Writer's pictureOrina Ontiri

Vehicle accident in church garage kills volunteer

DELTA TOWNSHIP – Sandy Spencer volunteered at the Seventh Day Adventist Community Service Center every Wednesday, doing her part for the food bank to help those in need.

“She was beautiful inside and out,” said Rebecca Smith, secretary for Seventh Day Adventist Church on St. Joseph Highway, where the food bank is located. “She never turned anyone away regarding the Lord.”

Spencer, a retiree who had worked at General Motors Co.’s now-razed Lansing Car Assembly complex, died Wednesday when she was struck by an SUV about 1 p.m. in the church’s garage. Eaton County Sheriff’s deputies said Spencer, 64,died shortly after the Chevrolet Equinox driven by a 68-year-old man apparently accelerated while backing into a garage at the church, police said. She was pronounced dead on arrival at Sparrow Hospital.

Smith said Spencer’s husband, Paul, and church member Bob Ancel, were injured. The men are being treated for serious injuries, but “are alive and well,” she said. Ancel is reported in fair condition at Sparrow Hospital.

The male driver was not cited at the scene and charges have not been filed, said Lt. Jeff Campbell of the Eaton County Sheriff’s Department. The department is continuing to investigate and is awaiting results of a toxicology report, which can take up to six weeks.

Campbell said alcohol does not appear to be a factor in the crash, however. He said it was unclear if the driver was a food bank volunteer or church member.

“This was just a very, very sad thing,” said Theresa O’Dell, executive assistant to Sheriff Tom Reich.

The Spencers and Ancel were volunteering for the food bank, which draws volunteers from all Lansing-area Seventh Day Adventist congregations.

The church’s pastor, the Rev. Justin Ringstaff, asked his congregation to keep the accident victims’ families in its prayers.

“All of our hearts are broken by this news but we are not losing our strength and hope in Jesus. Please keep these families and all affected in prayer,” Ringstaff said in a statement.

The Delta Township church has about 300 members, Smith said.

Funeral services for Sandy Spencer will be held 11 a.m. Sept. 28 at Seventh Day Adventist Church, 5400 W. St. Joseph Highway. A brief visitation will precede the memorial service.

(Lansing State Journal)

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