Indianapolis, IN — A fatal bus crash near Indianapolis on Saturday killed a youth pastor, his pregnant wife, and a parent volunteer. The bus belonged to Colonial Hills Baptist Church and was filled with youth kids returning from a week at camp.
But the bus driver lost control just one mile away from the church, careening into a barrier and causing the vehicle to flip on its side.
Colonial Hills deacon Jeff Leffew stated at a news conference on Sunday that the three people killed in the accident were Chad Phelps, Courtney Phelps, and Tonya Weindorf, reports MSN News.
Leffew added at the conference, “Our church grieves now. We griever for the fact that they’re not here now. We miss them.” Leffew also stated that a toddler was among those injured in the bus crash. He was the son of the Phelps.
The toddler was treated and released from the hospital, though it wasn’t clear who he was staying with. Chad and Courtney Phelps were expecting their second child next month.
Dozens were also injured in the bus crash, which happened at an exit ramp for Indianapolis’s I-465. Bus driver Dennis Mauer told police that the bus’s brakes failed and he wasn’t able to keep the vehicle from striking the barrier, notes ABC News.
IU Health spokeswoman Sally Winter stated on Sunday that three teens were still at Methodist Hospital, including one in critical condition. Five teens also remained at the Riley Hospital for Children. Many of the patients suffered head, arm, and leg injuries in the accident.
Leffew went on to inform the press that Tonya Weindorf, 51, was a chaperone for her special needs child. He added that Tonya’s child wanted to go, so she went along to “make it a good week.” According to the woman’s husband, she did. Leffew also had four daughters to the camp, three of which were on the bus that crashed.
He described racing to the scene of the accident, only to be met with a surreal scene. Clothing and other items were strewn across the road and windows were missing from the crashed bus. He recalled, “You’re just praying that it’s not as bad as it looks.” For him, it wasn’t. Leffer’s daughters escaped with bumps and bruises.
But the church still has a lot of healing left to go, as it lost three, almost four, of its members. Leffew thanked the rescue crews and good Samaritans on behalf of the church. He also thanked local churches and businesses who reached out to the church in the aftermath to offer their support.