The security director for The Basement ministry has been charged with two misdemeanors related to allegedly leaving the scene of an accident Sunday afternoon in Trussville.
Trussville police say Vince Lovell was southbound on Chalkville Road in a Chevrolet Tahoe with the words "Free Pitt" printed on the side in front of The Mall when he and a northbound Ryder Truck struck each other, damaging the driver's side mirrors on each vehicle.
The Ryder truck driver stopped, called Trussville Police, and told them he saw the "Free Pitt" Tahoe turn onto The Mall road and leave the scene.
Trussville Police Lt. Jeff Bridges says officers "are familiar with the vehicle and know where it generally stays, so they proceeded to Mr. Lovell's house."
Lt. Bridges says the officers noticed damage to the Tahoe consistent with the Ryder Truck driver's story and asked Lovell about it.
Lovell reportedly told them he was driving the vehicle at the time of the accident, and said he turned off onto a side street and went to the library parking lot to wait for the other driver.
Lovell told officers the Ryder truck swerved into his lane, and that he called his insurance company to report the accident, but didn't call police, then went home.
Lovell faces two charges of leaving the scene of an accident; one of them carries a penalty of a suspended license. Lovell is scheduled for a first appearance on November 6.
Lovell gave this account of the accident to FOX6 over the phone:
"I didn't leave the scene. I was traveling down the road, didn't even see the vehicle real good. He crossed over the two yellow lines, hit my mirror, the mirror swung around and shattered my driver's side window.
When that happened neither vehicle stopped, so I went down to the next block, and hung a left to get out of the main drag. I looked back in my rearview and he continued to go. I didn't see him anywhere, didn't see anybody at the scene.
So I went up to the library, saw an officer, tried to get his attention, he didn't see me. I went home, pulled in my garage, and there were officers pulling in right behind me. I didn't have my cellphone in the vehicle, so I went home to get it and make the calls.
I was distraught from picking the glass out of my head from window shattering, definetly didn't leave the scene of an accident. I went home to place the phone calls. I know I have to get a police report to get my insurance handled. There was not hit and run or any leaving the scene of an accident," Lovell said.
The "Free Pitt" message on the Tahoe refers to The Basement founder and evangelist Matt Pitt, who's currently in the Shelby County Jail on probation revocation and is also facing a second impersonating a peace officer charge.
Pitt is scheduled to make a court appearance Tuesday, Oct. 15.
Copyright 2013 WBRC. All rights reserved.
1720 Valley View Drive