No charges in fatal July Colonial Hills Baptist Church bus crash

INDIANAPOLIS - No criminal charges will be filed in a church bus crash last July that killed three people and an unborn child and injured dozens of others, the prosecutor’s office confirmed.

On July 27, a bus from Colonial Hills Baptist Church was returning from summer camp in Michigan when it overturned. The bus, carrying 40 children and adults, was coming off Interstate 465 before trying to turn onto Keystone Avenue and didn’t slow down.

The crash killed Chad and Courtney Phelps and their unborn child, and Tonya Weindorf. Chad Phelps was the church’s youth pastor and the son of the church’s main pastor. The Phelps’ first child was unhurt.

The Marion County Prosecutor’s Office announced Monday that prosecutors have completed their review of evidence from the crash, determining the evidence does not warrant criminal charges against the driver of the bus, Dennis Maurer.

“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 prosecutor’s office said the traffic light at the I-465 ramp was red when the bus entered the intersection, and Maurer will be issued a traffic ticket for the infraction.

Investigators said crash reconstruction showed the bus was traveling at roughly 40 to 45 miles per hour and was in range of the posted speed limit, but “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.”

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