GREENFIELD, Ind. – A church bus that overturned near Indianapolis this week, killing a 6-year-old and injuring several others, lacked a required federal registration needed for its planned out-of-state trip, Indiana State Police said Wednesday.
The 15-passenger bus was subject to U.S. Department of Transportation regulations because of its trip to what a church member said was a youth convention in Ohio, but lacked a required registration number with that federal agency, authorities said.
Bishop Lois Hill of St. Jude Family Worship Center in Gary disputed the vehicle needed a DOT number.
"It's all registered. It's all legal — that's why I wanted my paperwork. It's all legal," she told WISH-TV on Wednesday.
The bus was carrying members of St. Jude Family Worship Center. Tuesday's crash along Interstate 70, about 20 miles east of Indianapolis, killed 6-year-old Jacob Williams, of Gary. State Police said seven people were injured, but area hospitals reported receiving 11 patients.
Two children injured in the crash had been released from Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis, but one child remained hospitalized there in good condition, Indiana University Health spokesman Gene Ford said Wednesday. Two adults who were injured were listed in good condition at IU Health Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis, including the 53-year-old driver, Charles Goodman of Gary.
State Police had said Tuesday there was no evidence of any mechanical failure with the bus, and that preliminary indications were that "this crash appears to be a result of driver error" but did not provide further details about what caused the bus to overturn. Goodman had a suspended license and was wanted on an arrest warrant out of Lake County for failing to appear in court for a traffic offense, police said.
Hill said she did not know Goodman had a suspended license. "I have nothing to say about that because that was not indicated to me," she said.
Police said Wednesday the investigation could take several weeks or longer to complete. The bus, a 1999 Ford F-450 Econoline, was inspected on Wednesday.
"Once complete, the crash investigation will be forwarded to the Hancock County Prosecutor's Office for review and further action as deemed appropriate by that office," the State Police statement said.
Terrance Gardner, who was with the group but traveling in a car, told WTHR-TV that the group was headed to a youth convention in the Dayton, Ohio, area.