School Bus Driver in Chattanooga Crash Indicted, Faces Additional Charges

Nicole Schlosser
Posted on March 9, 2017

Johnthony Walker, who was charged in a fatal November crash, is indicted on six counts of vehicular homicide and faces other charges. Photo courtesy Chattanooga Fire Department
Johnthony Walker, who was charged in a fatal November crash, is indicted on six counts of vehicular homicide and faces other charges. Photo courtesy Chattanooga Fire Department
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — The school bus driver who was charged in connection with a crash in November that killed six children was indicted on Wednesday and faces several other charges.
Johnthony Walker, 24, was indicted on six counts of vehicular homicide, and was also charged with four counts of reckless aggravated assault, one count of reckless endangerment, one count of reckless driving, and one count of use of a portable electronic device by a school bus driver, the Chattanooga Free Press reports. He will be arraigned on March 24.

Walker allegedly was speeding and lost control of the bus, which left the road and hit a utility pole, overturned, and crashed into a tree, causing the roof of the bus to collapse inward. In addition to the six student fatalities, 31 children were injured in the crash, and Walker received minor injuries.

The National Transportation Safety Board’s preliminary report, which was released in January, stated that Walker had had one reportable crash and one non-reportable crash while operating school buses since the beginning of the school year in August. The report also reiterated a previously stated finding that Walker had reportedly deviated from his normal route when the November crash occurred.

The crash has prompted state lawmakers to propose bills that aim to enhance school bus safety. If passed, the bills could bring changes such as raising the state’s minimum age for obtaining an initial school bus endorsement from 21 to 25; requiring some school buses to be equipped with “a restraint system” for passengers; and requiring mandatory annual training based on state standards and a formal policy for responding to school bus safety complaints.   

Related Topics: CDL, driver training, school bus crash, seat belts, Tennessee

Nicole Schlosser Executive Editor
Comments ( 5 )
  • Victoria DeCarlo

     | about 3 years ago

    I would like to know why Johnthony Walkers 'concerns' were not addressed before the fatal accident occurred? He was constantly reaching out to those in authority to assist him with his students unsafe practices along with the students disrespect on his authority to remain seated and warned the kids their unsafe practices could result in injury while he was driving. He had written the students up, those in authority (Administrators) appeared to be agitated on the account he'd written 10 or 11 students up at one time. If 11 students were misbehaving and violating safety protocol, not only for themselves, but for others on the bus, than so be it, those 11 students should have been spoken to by the authority figures and disciplined accordingly. This is a widespread issue across this nation that Bus Drivers complain about and become stressed and overwhelmed with the lack of assistance dealing with real live discipline issues on our buses. This accident could have been avoided no doubt. Discipline, educate unruly students on what is expected from them on the rules. If there's an overwhelming doubt as in this case that a bus driver appeared to be out of control in which Johnthony Walker obviously became, than execute an 'immediate' removal or investigation.

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