Chicago (CBS) — Startling new details have been uncovered about the church bus crash on the Indiana Toll Road last month that left several people injured and the bus driver charged with drunk driving.
A report obtained by CBS 2 shows the bus failed an inspection just days before the terrifying crash. So, it shouldn’t have been on the road in the first place.
Many of the kids involved are now afraid to get back on a bus.
Both of Will Miller’s children were injured in the crash on Feb. 26 when the church bus that their AAU basketball team was riding home in veered off the road and crashed into an embankment, sending the bus full of kids and chaperones flying.
“You question judgement. You question others’ judgement,” Miller said.
Indiana State Police say the 82-year-old man behind the wheel, Wilton Carr, was drunk. He’s been charged with operating while intoxicating and endangering the 47 passengers on board, who were mostly children.
But a newly obtained report shows he’s not the only one to blame. It shows the bus failed an inspection just four days before the trip due to an exhaust leak should have taken the bus out of service.
But Jesus Saves Missionary Baptist Church, the bus’ owner, rented it out to the team anyway.
“I’m a parent and I’m outraged,” Miller said. “It takes something that is knowingly unsafe and there possibly could be some type of issue.”
The head of the bus ministry declined to comment saying to contact a representative who also failed to return CBS 2’s calls.
The church says this is “not a commercial enterprise” and Carr is a retiree who drives when available.
Indiana State Police said regardless of the “commercial” status of the ministry, owners are required to address any and all vehicle violations before returning to the road.
First Sgt. Tyler Utterback said some bus owners are ignorant of the requirements, but others are not.
“Sometimes it’s a malicious decision not to comply because it costs more to do it right,” Utterback said.
CBS 2 reached out Carr for comment, but he shut the door on us.
Carr’s lawyer also did not respond.
The Lake County Prosecutor’s office said the church could face civil fines if it is found negligent in this case.