Pastor, wife release statement about church bus crash report

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INDIANAPOLIS – After investigators released their report on the deadly church bus crash on July 27 that killed three people, the pastor of Colonel Hills Baptist Church and his wife thanked police for their diligence in preparing the report.

Dr. Charles and Linda Phelps said the crash was a life-changing event that took the lives of their son, Chad; his wife, Courtney; their unborn granddaughter; and church member Tonya Weindorf. They also referred to Dennis Maurer, the driver of the bus, as a family friend with a “huge burden.”

The crash report prepared by IMPD and Indiana State Police cited unsafe speed as the cause of the accident, which happened as the bus tried to turn onto Keystone Avenue from I-465. The report also found no mechanical defects with the bus; Maurer told police the brakes failed. The accident report said he hit the brakes and steered before the bus slammed into a concrete barrier but couldn’t avoid hitting it.

Here’s the statement from the Phelps family:

We are grateful for the investigative work of the Indianapolis Police Department, the Indiana State Police, and the Federal Department of Motor Vehicles. We are thankful to all of those involved in preparing the report of the accident which took the lives of our son, Chad; his wife, Courtney; our unborn granddaughter; and Mrs. Tonya Weindorf.  Events of the 27th of July, 2013, forever changed many lives.  We are especially thankful that the teens on the bus are healing physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Physical healing often occurs far more quickly than emotional and spiritual healing. We wish to express our gratitude to all who have expressed their sympathies by reaching out in love and by praying for us.  Your kindness has strengthened us.  We have been blessed.

Chad, Courtney and Tanya, along with the dear granddaughter that we never met left this earth together on the 27th of July.  No one can bring them back.  Our faith in God teaches us that they would not want to come back even if they could.  They are in heaven where there is no pain and there are no buses to mar the streets of gold.  They see Jesus and they sing of His glorious grace. These are the promises of the Bible. In order to honor our children’s legacy, we have chosen to accept God’s plan for our loved ones. 

Mr. Dennis Maurer drove the bus on the 27th of July. Dennis was our children’s friend and he is our friend.  He carries a huge burden.  We would like to ask our community to join us in praying for Dennis.

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