Officials with Colonial Hills Baptist Church discussed Saturday’s deadly bus crash and its impact on the church family on Wednesday evening.
On Saturday, a bus returning from a youth camp in Michigan crashed on the northeast side, killing Chad and Courtney Phelps and their unborn child. Tony Weindorf, a mother of five, was also killed.
Dr. Charles Phelps, father of Chad Phelps and father-in-law of Courtney Phelps, spoke during the Wednesday briefing. Phelps is also the church’s senior pastor.
“The events of July 27th have forever changed our lives. Chad, Courtney…(our) unborn granddaughter was taken with them to heaven. They’ve left us and there are no words to express our grief,” Phelps told reporters.
“We want to thank every single person who has prayed for us. Please continue to do so. We need it desperately,” he said.
Dr. Russell Gaddy, father of Courtney Phelps, also addressed the media.
“Our hearts are broken and the grief at times is overwhelming. However, we do not sorrow as those who have no hope. We know that we will see Chad and Courtney again and we will meet our dear granddaughter at that time,” Gaddy said.
“We know that God has a plan for all of us left behind. We are so thankful that God spared our grandson Chase. God has already shown his goodness to us through Indianapolis and the surrounding communities,” he said.
Phelps declined to answer questions about the investigation into the crash, saying Wednesday’s gathering was meant to honor those affected by the crash.
Shortly before the briefing, the family of bus driver Dennis Maurer released the following statement:
“In the aftermath of Saturday’s accident, we are comforted by our faith and hope in Jesus Christ and by our extended church family at Colonial Hills Baptist Church. The loss of our friends and fellow believers has been extremely painful, and we grieve with these families at this time. We are encouraged by the daily improvement of our church teens and rejoice as they heal. We ask for continued privacy as Dad recovers from his own injuries. Thank you for your continued prayers for all involved.”
Although he was asked about Maurer, Phelps declined to speak on his behalf. According to an Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department incident report, Maurer said the brakes on the bus failed.