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Fatal hit-and-run crash involving church bus

church van fatal1

A driver of a church bus was killed following a hit-and-run crash near 46th Street and Emerson Avenue on the evening of Nov. 3.

The driver, 26-year-old Brandon Collins, initially fled the scene, but police later located him and arrested him on preliminary charges of failure to stop resulting in death and operating a vehicle while intoxicated resulting in death.

Police said 18 people were aboard the bus and several were taken to the hospital for treatment. All but one were released by Monday morning.

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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.

INDIANAPOLIS (Nov. 6, 2013) – A man accused of causing a fatal accident and then leaving the scene had a blood alcohol content more than twice the legal limit, according to court documents.

Brandon Collins, 26, faces three felony counts in connection with the Sunday night crash that involved a church van and killed 51-year-old Edward Sadler.

According to documents filed Wednesday, the charges against Collins are failure to stop after accident resulting in serious bodily injury while intoxicated, operating a vehicle while intoxicated and operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol content of 0.15 or greater. All the charges are felonies.

A blood draw showed Collins had a blood alcohol content of 0.20, more than twice the legal limit to drive in Indiana.

The accident happened around 8 p.m. Sunday at the intersection of East 46th Street and North Emerson Avenue. Police said Collins blew through a red light in his Honda Accord. The church van from Jesus House of Prayer couldn’t avoid the resulting impact, investigators said.

Sadler died at the scene. Nearly a dozen other people on the van were hurt.

Witnesses told police that Collins tried to hitchhike after the crash to get farther away from the crash scene. When police took Collins into custody, he repeatedly said that he “hoped everyone was okay” and “hoped that no one was seriously injured.”

Police noticed “a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage” coming from Collins. They also said he exhibited slurred speech and poor balance. When police asked for details about the crash, Collins “stated he didn’t know he was in a crash,” according to the probable cause affidavit.

A church who has lost three members in a deadly bus crash is reaching out to another church, coping with a similar loss.

On Sunday, a Jesus House of Prayer Temple church van was heading back from a retreat when a car blew a red light on 46th Street and Emerson Avenue. The driver of the van, Edward Sadler, 51, was killed in the crash. 13 out of the 18 passengers on the bus were transported to the hospital and released.

It’s left members of Colonial Hills Baptist Church reliving their pain. Three months ago, their church bus was returning from camp when it crashed and flipped on Keystone Avenue near I-465. The crash killed Tonya Weindorf, Youth Pastor Chad Phelps, his wife, Courtney, and their unborn daughter.

Deacon, Jeff Leffew, said he felt the need to reach out to Sadler’s family and their church.

“Any time we hear something like this, it’s certainly still fresh for us,” said Leffew. “Life just changed in a matter of minutes and that’s exactly how it was for us as well.”

Leffew sat down with Sadler’s family to share thoughts of encouragement. He even passed along a special healing tool — rough notes from an old sermon written by Chad Phelps a year ago about how to deal with loss.

Since the tragedy, 10-thousand thin booklets have been printed and passed along everywhere — from church members in other congregations to victims in the deadly church bus crash in Tennessee in October.

The book, titled ‘My Daddy’s Message on the Purpose of Suffering’, has a cover picture of two-year-old toddler, Chase Phelps. The family’s only surviving son is captured standing in front of his parents’ graves at their funeral.

Leffew plans to print a few dozen more for church members at Jesus House of Prayer Temple Church.

“It was amazing at how dead on it was for helping us,” said Leffew. “There was a reason why God didn’t take us home that day. There’s still work for us to do. There’s still things we need to accomplish and people we need to touch.”

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Family members said 51-year-old Ed Sadler loved his family, his church and God. Sadler and other church members were involved in an accident Sunday evening when was driving a van for Jesus House of Prayer Temple Church. Thirteen of the 18 passengers on board were transported to the hospital.

Police believe a car blew through a red light at the intersection of 46th and Emerson. Officers believe the driver, 26-year old Brandon Collins, was drinking. He faces preliminary charges of Failure to Stop Resulting in Death and Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated Resulting in Death. The van was on its way back from God’s Love Church where members enjoyed worship and fellowship.

Family members said Sadler was a long standing member Jesus House of Prayer Temple Church. He was a deacon who loved driving the church van.

“He was doing what he loved and what was part of his ministry,” said Vanessa Powell.

Sadler leaves behind two daughters.

Condolences are also being posted on Sadler’s Facebook page, where he could often be found quoting scripture.

One person wrote, “As I read [through] the posts, my heart is heavy. Heavy for those injured in the accident, and the one soul who arrives tonight at Heaven’s gate. My heart is heavy for this Shepard who loves our Lord. Who boasted and loved his kids unconditionally. A tear is shed thinking of the encouraging words spilled on his page. Rest my friend, my brother, God is in control.”

INDIANAPOLIS – A patient hurt in Sunday’s deadly church van crash has been released from Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health.

The hospital confirmed the news Monday afternoon. Everyone treated at Riley has now been sent home.

Thirteen patients were taken to the hospital after police say a car driven by Brandon Collins, 26, ran a red light and slammed into the church vehicle. The driver of the church van, 51-year-old Edward Sadler, was killed in the crash, which happened around 8 p.m. at Emerson Avenue and 46th Street. Eighteen people were on the Jesus House of Prayer van.

Preliminary charges against Collins include failure to stop after a crash causing injury or death and operating a vehicle while intoxicated causing serious injury or death. Both are class B felonies.

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.—Police have identified the driver of a church van who was killed after a van struck the vehicle Sunday.

The driver was identified as 51-year-old Edward Sadler. Police said the Jesus House of Light Temple van was struck by a sedan, driven by 26-year-old Brandon Collins, on Emerson Avenue and 46th Street just before 8 p.m.

Police said Collins ran a red light. He was preliminarily charged with failure to stop resulting death and operating a vehicle while intoxicated resulting in death.

Eighteen people were aboard the van at the time of the crash. More than a dozen were transported to the hospital, but only one patient, a 7-year-old child, remains in the hospital Monday.

Photo courtesy of Facebook

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.– Twelve of the 13 patients taken to Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health after Sunday’s deadly church van crash are now recovering at home. The child who remains at Riley Hospital is listed in good condition.

A spokesperson for Wishard Hospital said two patients were taken there in good condition Sunday night, but the representative cited privacy laws in stopping short of saying whether the patients remained hospitalized Monday. Eighteen people, both adults and children, were in the van at the time of the crash.
The driver of the van, a 51-year old man and a church member, died in the crash. The van tipped over as an allegedly intoxicated driver blew through a red light and slammed into the van.

Officers arrested that driver, 26-year old Brandon Collins on preliminary charges of Failure to Stop Resulting in Death and Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated Resulting in Death.

Condolences are being posted on the Jesus House of Prayer Temple‘s Facebook page. Those who knew the victim describe him as an upstanding member of the church and as someone who was always excited for Sunday morning.

One person posted on the victim’s page, “As I read [through] the posts, my heart is heavy. Heavy for those injured in the accident, and the one soul who arrives tonight at Heaven’s gate. My heart is heavy for this Shepard who loves our Lord. Who boasted and loved his kids unconditionally. A tear is shed thinking of the encouraging words spilled on his page. Rest my friend, my brother, God is in control.”

A hit-and-run driver who police believe was drunk when he caused a church van to flip, killing the driver, has been arrested, according to a police report.

Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) records show Brandon Collins, 26, of Indianapolis, was arrested and preliminarily charged with Failure to Stop Resulting in Death and Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated Resulting in Death.

Police said Collins was driving his sedan on Emerson Avenue on Sunday before 8 p.m., when he ran a red light at 46th Street and drove into the path of a Jesus House of Light Temple van.

The church van then flipped, killing the driver, who was in his 50s, police said.

The police report showed two witnesses then saw Collins run away.

“He fled and the officers on North District set up a quick perimeter and he was found four to five blocks west of this location around 46th and Andover,” said IMPD Lt. Chris Bailey.

While 18 people were on board the van, police said a 7-year-old survivor was the only other victim taken to the hospital in serious condition.  That victim’s condition was upgraded to “good” shortly thereafter.

As of Monday morning, a spokesperson told FOX59 News that 12 of the 13 victims taken to Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health have been released.  One patient, who the spokesperson could only say is under the age of 12, remains hospitalized in good condition.

A spokesperson for Wishard Hospital said two patients were taken there in good condition Sunday night, but the representative cited privacy laws in stopping short of saying whether the patients remained hospitalized.

The Jesus House of Light Temple, which is located on North Illinois Street in Indianapolis, is holding a prayer service Monday at 5 p.m. at East 46th Street between Arlington and Shadeland avenues.

UPDATE: Police confirm the suspected hit and run driver was found a few blocks away.

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (November 3, 2013) – Police responded to a serious accident at the intersection of 46th and Emerson Ave just before 8 p.m. Sunday.

Officials confirm there were 14 children and four adults on the large van when it was struck by a 4-door vehicle.

The driver of the van died on the scene and several others who were injured, were taken to Wishard and Riley Hospitals.

A 7-year-old passenger was taken to Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health in serious condition.

Police said the bus was from Jesus House of Prayer Temple Apostolic Church. The driver of the vehicle that hit the van blew through a red light then ran away from the scene.

The crash, which happened just before 8 p.m., shut down the intersection.

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