KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — A school bus driver in a fatal crash here in December was sending and receiving text messages, investigators found.
The Knoxville Police Department has been investigating the Dec. 2 crash, in which two students and an aide were killed. James Davenport’s bus made a sharp left turn, crossed over a concrete median and struck another school bus.
On Friday, the Knoxville Police Department released a statement with its findings from the investigation, which included numerous interviews, analysis of evidence and consultation with bus crash experts.
“The results of the investigation [have] shown that the driver of bus #44, Mr. Davenport, was driving while distracted due to sending and receiving text messages,” police officials said. “Multiple text messages had been sent and received during the time leading up to the crash.”
As the investigation was drawing to a close, Davenport died on June 1. He was 48.
Davenport was injured in the December crash, but it was not yet clear whether his death was related to those injuries. Medical examiners are conducting an autopsy.
Police turned the investigative file over to the Knox County District Attorney General’s Office. Kyle Hixson, deputy district attorney general, told reporters in a press conference recorded by WBIR that Davenport’s passing precluded criminal charges against him.
“Due to Mr. Davenport’s death, there will be no criminal prosecution stemming from the case of the fatal bus crash,” Hixson said.
Police investigators have been meeting with the crash victims’ family members over the past two days to share the results of the investigation with them.
“This has been a very difficult procedure for all involved,” Knoxville Police Department officials said, “and hopefully, this has provided the families another step in their healing process.”