School bus driver charged in crash that killed five kids

Johnthony Walker, 24, driver of the Chattanooga, Tenn., school bus in which five children died in a crash Monday, was arrested and charged with vehicular homicide and other charges. Photo courtesy of Chattanooga Police Department

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn., Nov. 22 (UPI) — A school bus driver involved in a crash that killed five children was arrested on charges including vehicular homicide.

Johnthony Walker, 24, was charged with five counts of vehicular homicide, reckless endangerment and reckless driving, Chattanooga Police Chief Fred Fletcher said. He added that early reports from investigators indicate the bus, which was carrying 35 children home from Woodmore Elementary School, struck a utility pole, turned overand then struck a tree on Monday afternoon. The bus was wrapped around the tree and nearly torn in two.

Fletcher said authorities issued a warrant to have the event recorder removed from the bus and to review video evidence. The National Transportation Safety Board said a team would arrive in Chattanooga on Tuesday to investigate the crash. The bus remained in place in Chattanooga’s Brainerd neighborhood, on Monday night.

Three fourth-graders, a kindergartner and a first-grader died in the crash, and 12 more were hospitalized, six of them in the hospital’s intensive care units, Hamilton County School Superintendent Kirk Kelly said.

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