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PostPosted: Wed Mar 03, 2004 12:29 pm 
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‘Passion’ inspired woman to drive into brook, police say

By LISETTE VELASQUEZ , Special to The Bristol Press 03/02/2004

NEW BRITAIN -- Police say that a woman drove her car into the water at A.W. Stanley Quarter Park in an apparent attempt to re-enact a scene from the movie, "The Passion of the Christ."

An anonymous New Britain police received an anonymous call early Saturday morning that a woman had driven a Chevrolet Lumina into the brook at A.W. Stanley Quarter Park. Police said the driver, whose name has not been released, is in her 40s, married, and has children.

"She drove her vehicle partly off the bank. Just the front of the car was in the water," said Sgt. Darren Pearson. "According to the officers on the scene, she told them she was attempting to reenact a scene from the movie, ‘The Passion of the Christ,’ which she said she had recently seen."

The woman was taken to the hospital for evaluation, but apparently escaped injury, police said.

Pearson said no charges will be filed.

Although police could not say which specific scene motivated the woman, they believe she was attempting to be baptized.

The movie, produced by actor Mel Gibson, has generated a swarm of controversy. The film, which debuted on Ash Wednesday and is considered to appeal mainly to conservative Christians, depicts a bloody chronicle of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion. The film has also been accused by some of being anti-Semitic. Some Jewish and Christian leaders have said they feared the film would promote the notion that Jews collectively were responsible for Christ’s death.

Pearson said that while it is not common for a popular movie to prompt people to attempt to re-enact a scene, it does occasionally happen. In 2001, soon after the release of "Fast and the Furious," officers found themselves dealing with several illegal street racing incidents in the area. The movie drew attention to gambling on domestic cars that are rebuilt and stylized for racing.

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