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Driver deliberately runs truck into church
Suspect charged with felony vandalism
Church crash site
The east side of the Ceres Christian Church youth center was boarded up yesterday after a man with mental issues plowed through a doorway entrance on Thursday afternoon. - photo by JEFF BENZIGER/Courier photo

Cody Higgins Spurlock is scheduled to appear in Stanislaus County Superior Court Thursday morning for a preliminary trial to answer why he deliberately rammed his pickup into a Ceres church building last week.

Cody Higgins Spurlock was arrested Thursday after running his vehicle into the east side of the youth center building of Ceres Christian Church, 3502 Roeding Road, at approximately 3:30 p.m. on Thursday afternoon. Spurlock is being charged with felony vandalism and misdemeanor hit and run with property damage.

One source at the church said Spurlock had posted a rant on Facebook aimed at Bill Kearney, one of the pastors at the church. Kearney served as youth pastor from 2001 to 2011 and was hired back as the Community Life Pastor in 2013. Spurlock reportedly attended Ceres Christian Church when Kearney was a youth pastor and his office was located in the youth building where Spurlock aimed his car.

California Highway Patrol Officer David Harper said that Spurlock's brother, Justin Spurlock, helped lead authorities to his brother who was parked at the Love's convenience store in Ripon after the incident at the church.

"He confessed to crashing into the church," said Officer Harper. "There were a number of questions that were asked as to why and how and it kind of seems like it was more due to his mental status. He really couldn't come up with too many reasons as to why. It does seem like he has some mental issues going on that he knows about but is refusing to work on or refused to take some medication for. It sounds like he's going through a run-around with his family with his frame of mind for a while."

Harper said Spurlock was on the phone to his dad Thursday evening and got into a verbal argument leading up to the crash and that he "had some sort of a falling out with the church a few years ago." That discussion prompted Spurlock to head to the church, he noted.

Justin Spurlock told Officer Harper that his brother had been diagnosed as bipolar years ago.

Spurlock's pickup crashed into the metal doors of the eastern wall of the building, pushing them into the center 60 to 70 feet, Harper estimated. The door frame was mangled as was the sheet metal abutting it and the interior wallboard was "busted up pretty good."

Burn marks on the asphalt outside the building indicated that Spurlock lining up for the building. The vehicle entered the building and exited through the same hole, leaving pieces of the vehicle, such as a side mirror.

Nobody was in the building at the time of the crash. But in the main building were daycare children and staff.

Pastor Adam Miller said his staff heard the screech of tires through the parking lot, followed by the loud crash. It was the alarm that went off that alerted staff to walk to the rear building and by then Spurlock had already driven off.

Heard he screeched through the parking lot and a loid crash and the alarm is what alerted the crash.

Miller said the church is in the process of contacting its insurance adjuster and getting quotes to repair the damage.

"Fortunately nobody was hurt during all this," said Pastor Miller.