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Victims in Indiana bus crash have ties to Wisconsin college

UNDATED (WSAU-Wheeler News)  Maranatha Baptist Bible College of Watertown is mourning the deaths of two former students, their unborn baby, and the mother of a former student in a bus crash last Saturday in Indianapolis.

Chad and Courtney Phelps attended Maranatha, and their father Chuck is a former president of the school. Courtney was just one month away from having her second child. Tonya Weindorf was the only other person killed. She’s the mother of a Maranatha Baptist nursing student.

On its Web site yesterday, the Watertown Bible school said its prayers go out to those killed. Thirty-three others were hurt in the bus crash, mostly teenagers. They and their chaperones almost made it home from a summer church camp in Michigan when their bus fell down an exit ramp on Interstate-465 and hit a concrete median. The driver said the brakes failed, but police have not confirmed that it caused the crash. One of the most seriously injured was moved out of an intensive care unit yesterday.

Two other teens were hospitalized in good condition. Chad Phelps was the youth pastor at Colonial Hills Baptist Church in Indianapolis. Weindorf was a teacher at the Colonial Christian School.

Investigators now say it could take a week or longer to determine a cause – and whether anyone’s at fault. The Indianapolis Star says non-profit groups like churches are not required to keep vehicle inspection records, and they don’t get the same scrutiny as commercial buses. For now, the church refuses comment on the condition of its 1986 vehicle, which it acquired 11 years ago.