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Indianapolis Bus Crash Kills Youth Pastor and Pregnant Wife, 2-year-old Son Survives

( [email protected] ) Jul 28, 2013 02:55 AM EDT
The youth pastor of an Indianapolis church and his pregnant wife were among the three victims who died when a bus overturned with just a mile to go returning from a summer camp, a church leader said Sunday.

The youth pastor of an Indianapolis church and his pregnant wife were among the three victims who died when a bus overturned with just a mile to go returning from a summer camp, a church leader said Sunday.

Dozens of people were injured in the crash, which happened near Interstate 465 exit ramp Saturday afternoon. Bus driver Dennis Maurer, 68, told police that the brakes failed before the vehicle struck a raised concrete median and flipped on its side.

Saturday's accident devastated members of Colonial Hills Baptist Church.

Deacon Jeff Leffew said that youth pastor Chad Phelps; his wife, Courtney Phelps; and chaperone Tonya Weindorf, a mother of five, died in the accident.

The Phelps’ were in their mid-20s, they were expecting their second child next month, Leffew said at a news conference. Chad Phelps is the son of the church’s main pastor, Charles Phelps.

Chad and Courtney Phelps' almost 2-year-old son, Chase, was among the injured passengers. IU Health spokeswoman Sally Winter said Sunday that the toddler had been released from the hospital.

The bus was nearly completed its 365-mile journey, overturning just a mile from the church, where parents were waiting to pick up their children after a weeklong camp.

Fire officials said 37 people were on the bus. Five teenagers remained at the Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health. Many of the patients had head, arm and leg injuries, fire officials said.

Leffew thanked rescue workers and good Samaritans who tried to help after the crash, as well as local churches and businesses that have offered their support.

“We are so grateful for that outpouring of love and care,” he said Sunday.