5 killed in Chattanooga school bus crash; Driver charged with vehicular homicide

Five children were killed in a school bus crash in Chattanooga, and at least 23 were taken to  nearby hospitals. (Source: Chattanooga Fire Department)
Five children were killed in a school bus crash in Chattanooga, and at least 23 were taken to nearby hospitals. (Source: Chattanooga Fire Department)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN/CNN) — The driver of the school bus that crashed in Chattanooga Monday that killed five children faces five counts of vehicular homicide.

Chattanooga police are looking into whether 24-year-old Johnthony Walker was speeding before the crash occurred.

Walker's affadavit. (Courtesy: WTVC)
Walker’s affidavit. (Courtesy: WTVC)

He is also charged with reckless endangerment and reckless driving. His bond has been set at $107,500.

A child who was on the bus described how he was driving prior to the crash.

“He wasn’t paying attention. He was going real fast and he hit a garbage bag. We then hit a mailbox then flip over and hit a tree real hard,” said the boy.

An affidavit filed in Hamilton County court states that Walker was traveling at a high rate of speed, well above the posted speed limit of 30 miles per hour at the time of the crash.

Investigators said he lost control of the bus and swerved off the roadway to the right, striking an elevated driveway and mailbox.

He swerved to the left and began to overturn, striking a telephone pole and tree, according to the affidavit.

A team of investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board will arrive in Chattanooga Tuesday.

The five children killed in the crash were in kindergarten, first and fourth grade.

Walker worked for Durham School Services and was contracted out to the school system.

“Our entire team at Durham School Services is devastated by the accident yesterday that tragically claimed the lives of Chattanooga students. We are working with Chattanooga Police Department and Hamilton County School District to investigate. We also have additional team members arriving in Chattanooga today to provide support. We have offered to provide counseling to students and families of Hamilton County, as well as our employees. We will provide all further updates in coordination with the Chattanooga Police Department and the District,” said David Duke, CEO of Durham School Services in a release Tuesday.

Walker had a previous property damage accident case in Hamilton County this September as well as a failure to show proof of insurance and subsequent suspension in October 2013, according to the Department of Safety and Homeland Security.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s