Indianapolis, IN — A fatal church bus crash on I-465 on Saturday afternoon (July 27, 2013) claimed three lives, including a pastor’s, after an accident that may have been caused by faulty brakes. Police identified two of the three deceased victims as Chad Phelps and his pregnant wife, Courtney Phelps. Chad was a youth pastor for Colonial Hills Baptist Church. 

According to CNN’s coverage of the accident, brake failure on the church bus that carried 37 people was suspected to be a major factor in the accident. The bus was headed west on I-465 and was taking the exit for Keystone Avenue to go back to Colonial Hills Baptist when the driver lost control, hitting a concrete median.

The bus the overturned and landed on its side, killing Chad and Courney Phelps along with another adult woman sponsor on the bus. Of the 37 people on the bus, an estimated twenty-four were injured and six teenagers were hospitalized with more serious injuries. At least one teen was in critical condition as of Monday.

The accident is still being investigated, but the bus driver, a local member at the church, said that the brakes on the commercial bus failed as he tried to slow down for the exit.

No updates have been issued yet.

Scene of the Accident


This is one of the more tragic accidents I’ve read about in recent months, and I wish I could say that this is an isolated incident, but there are unfortunately many accidents like this one that claim lives on our interstates. First, let me just state that the investigation is clearly still underway and in no way do I want to sensationalize or draw any undue attention to those suffering from this accident. That said, I find it highly disturbing that brake failure is being listed as an issue here. Although it’s not the first time I’ve come across this factor in my career, I would be very interested in seeing the results of the investigation. Ultimately, this may be an issue with the manufacturer of the bus itself or some other third-party manufacturer regarding the brake system on the bus. If faulty mechanical work or faulty parts contributed to this accident, I hope that the responsible party will accept full liability and do the right thing here. Accidents happen, I understand, but there also needs to be a system of accountability and responsibility to which we hold businesses and manufacturers.


— Grossman Law Offices

Recent Comments to the Blog

Jason is back to work and is now playing Sled Hockey and wheelchair rugby!! Jason is the strongest and most amazing man! He may nly have 1/2 a leg, but that is ALL he is lacking!! Thanks to prayer and GOD and awsome first responders and Baylor doctors. Jason's wife, Sheila
— Sheila
I'm a former employee. I had brought up this exact scenario and suggested a maintenance procedure that would eliminate the possibility of this type injury. Obviously my warning went unheeded.
— Tophat
I was actually a couple cars back from this wreck, one of the first on the scene, and helped administer CPR on the victims. The truck driver was going way too fast, but it was actually his trailer that swung around and hit the suv, the semi-truck ended in the median.
— Leif Burton
I appreciate how you've commentated on this tragedy--informative, with questions, but not hurtful. I live within 30 mins of this crash site, and I am appalled at the entire situation :(. I can't even begin to understand what could have happened to make this come to fruition, but I will be keeping up with it so I can learn what investigations bring to light about how something awful like this could happen. Rest in peace, Thomas, Carolyn and Carolyn...
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I am Anthony Siffords daughter. im 13 and i miss my dad i just wanted everyone to know that he is in a better place now and i would to thank everyone for the support. i miss my dad but it was amazing to see how many people had been toughed by my dad god bless thanks for everything...
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I am Rodney Palmer's sister-inlaw. I am amazed and grateful for all the heartfelt wishes and support for our family... It is difficult indeed to put our thoughts into words, but we very much appreciate your kind and helpful words at a time when these things mean so much. Losing someone as special as Rodney has been tough, but knowing the he has touched so many people's lives keeps my sister's strengthens our family.
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My friend Michael was the one who got hit by this train. This is the ONLY article I can find on it!! How is that possible? It happened almost 5 days ago! Thank you for actually caring about us "no name" people. I hope when more information comes in you will post it as soon as you can. Thank you again!! God bless you
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