School bus driver arrested after fatal crash

Johnthony Walker (Photo Credit: Hamilton County Sheriff's Office)

Johnthony Walker (Photo Credit: Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office)

A community is in mourning and a school bus driver is in jail after a tragic accident in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Police have arrested Johnthony Walker, 24, on multiple counts of vehicular homicide, reckless endangerment and reckless driving. Walker was the driver of a school bus that witnesses say was speeding so fast that it turned on its side and wrapped around a tree. On board were 35 students from Woodmore Elementary School, who ranged from kindergartners to fifth grade. One student told media, “He was going real fast and he hit a garbage bag and we then hit a mailbox, then we flipped over and hit a tree real hard.”

Chattanooga school bus accident (Photo Credit: Chattanooga Fire Department)

Chattanooga school bus accident (Photo Credit: Chattanooga Fire Department)

When police arrived at the scene, children were crawling out of the emergency roof escape, but many more were trapped inside the bus and had to be rescued. Police have stated that five children were dead at the accident scene and another 23 suffered various injuries. According to Kirk Kelly, interim superintendent for Hamilton County Schools the dead students were three fourth-graders at Woodmore Elementary School, one  first-grader and one kindergartner. At least 12 students were hospitalized with six in the intensive care unit, and another six are in regular rooms at the hospital

Chattanooga school bus accident (Photo Credit: Chattanooga Fire Department)

Chattanooga school bus accident (Photo Credit: Chattanooga Fire Department)

Residents of the city were shocked when news spread of the accident and many went to the hospital hoping to donate blood to the injured children. A National Transportation Safety Board team has been dispatched to investigate the accident. Chairman Christopher Hart of the NTSB told reporters that  speed is being investigated very strongly as a factor in the crash. He also stated that driving conditions were clear and dry and no other vehicles were involved in the crash.

Walker could face additional charges as the investigation continues and the injured children attempt to recover.  It is being reported that the school where the children attended will be open with grief counselors available for students and staff.

"Mo Betta" Maurice "Mo" Barnes is a graduate of Morehouse College and Political Scientist based in Atlanta. Mo is also a Blues musician.

Comments

  • britishrose
    November 22, 2016

    I want judge cause no one knows what happen
    he may have been drunk or taking pills,,or smokin
    crack school officials maybe to blame. if you hire
    a person around kids and dont demand regualar drug test and
    make them cut their hair and groom? duh i bet u he fell asleep from
    drunk high and partying all night falling a sleep at 3am and rising for work by 5am?
    a 24 should not be hired for this type job? like you dont hire a 15 yo to keep your new born!!! school will be sued i bet, cause he probably been mandated before for tacky behavior

    • LadyDracoVT
      December 3, 2016

      For someone who won’t judge… (that IS what you were trying to say, right?) …you sure are throwing a LOT of “potential judgments” out there.

      If a person doesn’t reek of body odor, or have filth streaked on their face/clothes, an employer cannot LEGALLY order them to “cut their hair and groom”. Imagine telling a native american to cut his braid off, or a Rastafarian to get rid of his dreads. Also, employers are not allowed to discriminate by age. I was the Executive Director of a Juvenile Detention Facility. My 7am to 3pm shift SUPERVISOR was 24! He was the most competent person I ever met. It sounds like you don’t understand a lot about how the working world sorts itself.

      Then you make allegations against a fellow you don’t know anything about:

      “… he may have been drunk or taking pills,,or smokin crack school officials maybe to blame. if you hire
      a person around kids and dont demand regualar drug test…”
      [I agree that drug tests for ALL school employees and volunteers would be good!]

      “…i bet u he fell asleep from
      drunk high and partying all night falling a sleep at 3am and rising for work by 5am?

      …school will be sued i bet, cause he probably been mandated before for tacky behavior… ”

      This sounds like you took one look at the “gentleman’s” picture and decided, “Yea-suh! Look like trash to me!” Maybe he’s mentally ill. Maybe he has seizures. Maybe he went off some kind of medication because he has no prescription drug insurance. WHO KNOWS! I don’t. Neither do you.

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