Local News

Indianapolis youth pastor, pregnant wife killed in bus crash had Cary ties

Posted August 1, 2013 6:31 p.m. EDT
Updated August 2, 2013 6:33 a.m. EDT

— A church youth minister and his pregnant wife killed in a weekend bus crash in Indianapolis have an aunt living in Cary who says the pain of such a tragedy is being softened by the family's deep-rooted faith in God.

"Even though we have the hope we're going to see them again, we grieve and we miss them a lot," Jane Popow said Thursday. "But we are pleased to think that we are going to see them again. It gives us great assurance and peace in our heart."

Popow's niece, Courtney Phelps, was on the bus Saturday with her husband, Chad Phelps, and their 2-year-old son when the bus overturned on Interstate 465, about a mile from their church, Colonial Hills Baptist Church.

The family was among a group of 40 returning from a weeklong summer camp in Michigan. The couple and one other person died.

Twenty-six others were injured, including the Phelps' son, Chase, who was thrown from the bus, suffering scrapes and scratches but no serious injuries.

"We could definitely see the Lord's hand in this," Popow said. "We can see how the Lord protected Chase by putting him in the back of the bus moments before the crash."

Popow said the boy had been in the front of the bus with his parents but that, right before the wreck, a teenager on the bus took him to the back to play.

Chase is now being cared for by his grandparents and other relatives in Indiana.

"They're really hurting, right now," Popow said. "They are holding on to the Lord and putting their hope and faith in Him. That's all they can do."

According to the church's website, Chad Phelps, 25, joined the church staff last year and had recently completed a degree in pastoral studies from seminary. He was passionate about ministry and spreading the gospel message of Jesus Christ.

Courtney Phelps, 24, was passionate about music and ministry as well. She was expecting their second child, a girl, in September.

"They were very dedicated to the Lord and serving Him. They loved the youth. They just were very kind and compassionate people," Popow said. "They always thought of people before themselves. They were just very giving."