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Brake failure caused fatal church camp bus crash, driver says

(Reuters) - The driver of a bus that crashed at the weekend killing three people and injuring 26 others as they returned from a church camp told witnesses the brakes failed as the bus exited an interstate highway, a spokeswoman for the Indianapolis Fire Department said on Sunday.

Dennis Maurer, 68, of Indianapolis, was driving 37 passengers, mainly teenagers, from a summer camp in Michigan to the Colonial Hills Baptist Church in northern Indianapolis when the bus crashed into a lane barrier as it left Interstate 465, said spokeswoman Rita Burris.

They were only a couple of miles from their destination when the accident happened.

Youth pastor Chad Phelps and his wife, Courtney Phelps, as well as Tonya Weindorf, the mother of one of the children on the bus, were killed, a Colonial Hills Baptist Church spokeswoman told Reuters.

Twenty-six others were taken to area hospitals with various injuries, two of them by helicopter, officials said.

(Reporting by Francesca Trianni. Writing by Eric M. Johnson; Editing by David Storey)

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