INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Nov. 18, 2013)— The Marion County Prosecutor’s Office announced Monday that no criminal charges will be filed in the church bus crash that killed three people on Saturday, July 27.
Fox59 first reported the news last week that the bus driver, 68-year-old Dennis Maurer, will not face criminal charges for the accident.
“The investigation has clearly determined that no criminal activity led to the July crash,” Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry stated. “I hope that the conclusion of this investigation provides some solace to the victims, families, and entire church community affected by this tragic incident.”
The crash report cited unsafe speed as the primary reason for the accident that occurred on the I-465 exit ramp to North Keystone Avenue. The Colonial Hills Baptist Church bus was returning to Indianapolis from a church retreat in Michigan. Chad Phelps, a youth pastor, his pregnant wife Courtney and a church member, Tonya Weindorf, were killed when the bus overturned.
An investigation revealed the traffic light at the I-465 exit ramp was red when the bus entered the intersection, so prosecutors said Maurer will be issued a traffic ticket for that infraction.
Prosecutor Curry said the decision to not file criminal charges was based on a review of all evidence gathered from the crash investigation and toxicology screening results.
Crash reconstruction analysis determined the speed of the bus was in the approximate range of 40 to 45 miles per hour and thus within the posted speed limit. The crash reconstruction report states, “While speed in excess of the posted limit was not a factor, speed as estimated is considered the primary cause of this crash due to the driver’s inability to safely negotiate the turn given the type of vehicle.”
The bus was found to be in proper operating condition with no mechanical malfunctions, and Maurer was determined to be properly licensed to operate the bus.