Pastor, others speak out about fatal I-465 bus crash

Families have found comfort in each other

INDIANAPOLIS - The pastor of Colonial Hills Baptist Church spoke out about the fatal crash that killed three church members -- including his son and daughter-in-law.

Chad and Courtney Phelps and Tonya Weindorf were killed when their bus returning from a summer camp in Michigan overturned coming off Interstate 465 on Saturday.

Dr. Charles Phelps, senior pastor at the church and father of Chad Phelps, spoke to the community Wednesday evening.

He assured the crowd that his son and daughter-in-law were prepared to meet the lord and they had dedicated themselves to serve the lord since they were young.

He said that their nearly 2-year-old son, Chase Phelps, was the joy of their life and he will be their living legacy.

"We saw the hand of the lord rescuing him and we believe Courtney was instrumental in keeping him here in her final moments, that is who Courtney was," Phelps said.

Phelps said that the young boy's uncle was following the bus and ran across Keystone Avenue to rescue the child after the crash.

"We learned that life is short, it's a vapor. It's a period that vanishes away and we can be ready to meet God at any moment," Phelps said.

Dr. Russell Gaddy -- Courtney Phelps' father -- and church Deacon Jeff Leffew also spoke about the fatal bus crash.

Gaddy spoke about the outpouring of support from the Indianapolis community.

Witnesses said the bus was coming off of I-465 onto Keystone Ave., but didn't slow down.

"The light turned green for southbound traffic and then the bus just flew into my vision and flipped in an instant," said witness Carol Albright.

The driver, 68-year-old Dennis Mauer, said the brakes on the bus failed. Mauer is also a member of the church.

Mauer's family released the following statement Wednesday:

"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."

The funeral for Weindorf will be Aug. 2 at 10:30 a.m. The funeral for Chad and Courtney Phelps will be Aug. 3 at 11 a.m. The church said they will stream the funerals live.

Follow Drew Smith on Twitter: @drewsmith1

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