A well-known executive pastor at a local church is facing DUI charges stemming from a motorcycle crash over the weekend and has been put on administrative leave, according to a statement issued Tuesday from the church.
Gerald Torres, 43, a pastor at Reality Church, was riding a 1998 Yamaha westbound on Casitas Pass Road, east of Lillingston Canyon Road, shortly after 4 p.m. Saturday, when he veered off the roadway and struck a traffic sign and a fence, according to the California Highway Patrol.
Torres was seriously injured, suffering major head injuries and cuts to his extremities, and his 8-year-old son, who was his passenger, was thrown from the motorcycle.
The boy suffered only minor abrasions and was released to a family friend at the scene, the CHP said.
Torres was released to the hospital after being arrested on suspicion of DUI.
Torres' wife, April, did not immediately return a request for comment, but on Tuesday, Tyler Morgan, a pastor at Reality Church, released a statement confirming that Torres and his son had been in an accident.
The full statement and a video of Pastor Britt Merrick's address to the church from Sunday can be viewed here.
Torres underwent surgery Sunday morning and had severe lacerations to his face, a broken nose, hand and ribs, and was released from the hospital Monday, the church said.
His son was not injured other than a scraped shin, and "we are thankful for the sparing of Pastor Torres’ life, that he will recover from his injuries and that his son did not suffer any significant harm," the statement said. "Sadly, Pastor Torres had consumed alcohol and is currently being investigated by law enforcement for driving under the influence."
The statement went on to say that is "out of character" for Torres and not something that would be expected of him.
"It was a terrible mistake, and it is sin on his part. Pastor Torres is deeply broken and repentant because of his actions," the statement said, adding that they acknowledge "our church wrestles with sin and failure," but also experiences the forgiveness and restoration of Jesus.
"So many have been deeply ministered to by Pastor Torres. His failure does not undo the positive influence he has had in many lives, in our church and in our community," the statement said, adding that they support him and his family. "While there is forgiveness and restoration, there are consequences to Pastor Torres action. The elders have put Pastor Torres on leave for an undetermined period of time, and he agrees wholeheartedly with this decision.
"We love Pastor Torres and his family. We are praying for them and are committed to their healing and well-being."