Speeding Driver Caused Bus to Slam into a Tree, Flip Over and Split Apart
Rescuers worked for hours to pull children from a horrific bus wreck in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Frantic parents were screaming, “That’s my baby.” Students cried from pain, fear, and shock.
School officials reported that at least five elementary children were killed while six others remained in intensive card at a hospital. Mayor Andy Berke said, “We are…dealing with an unimaginable loss.”
Johnthony Walker, 24, the driver of the bus has been arrested. He has been charged with vehicular homicide, reckless endangerment and reckless driving. He could face more charges as the case proceeds.
Investigators are still trying to pinpoint the cause of the crash. The arrest affidavit reported the bus, “was barreling down a narrow and winding road.” Authorities are looking at the speed the bus was traveling at the time of the crash. The affidavit continued, “Mr. Walker lost control of the bus and swerved off of the roadway to the right, striking an elevated driveway and mailbox, swerved to the left and began to overturn, striking a telephone pole and a tree.” It continues reporting that witnesses and physical evidence indicate that Walker was “traveling at a high rate of speed, well above the posted speed limit of 30 mph.”
Following the crash Walker called his mother. He reported he had been in a “drastic accident.” She said, “When he talked to me, he was terrified. He was trying to get them (children) off the bus – all the bodies were limp. There was blood everywhere. He has been cooperating with the police. He texted me minutes later saying the kids are dead.”
Gwenevere Cook, Walker’s mother, expressed condolences for the victims’ families and asked for compassion for her son. She said he is a respected man and a father of a 3-year-old son. According to Cook her son works two jobs and has never been in trouble.
Kirk Kelly, interim superintendent of Hamilton County Schools, reported that of the five children confirmed dead, three were fourth-graders, one was a first-grader and one was in kindergarten. Kelly said that six students remain in intensive care while six others are in regular hospital rooms.