Chattanooga bus driver allegedly asked children, 'Are y'all ready to die?'

Ray Hunter
Ноября 27, 2016

According to a crash report obtained by ABC News, the 24-year-old driver of the fatal bus crash was involved with another auto accident just two months ago.

The school bus driver, 24-year-old Johnthony Walker, is charged with vehicular homicide.

The boy was one of five children killed Monday when their speeding school bus careened off a narrow, winding road and smashed into a tree on their way home from elementary school. But according to authorities, he was driving way faster than the speed limit of 30 miles per hour when he somehow slammed the bus into a telephone pole. And almost two dozen more are injured, some critically.

So far in the investigation, NTSB says they have begun downloading video footage from inside the bus, but they had trouble due to the vehicle's damage. No injuries were reported in that case. No charges were filed in that incident, but a citation for failure to yield was issued.

While Cook said she grieved for the victims and their families, she also sought mercy for her son, who is being held on $107,500 bond.

Jasmine Mateen said she had repeatedly complained to the school about the bus driver.

"Nothing that I can say can take away the pain and the grief for these families", Duke said.

"Many of them were scared or too dazed to talk to us", Dr. Darvey Koller of the Children's Hospital at Erlanger said at a Tuesday news conference. Although the unidentified mother had one child die from the crash, she said her other two children alleged that driver Johnthony Walker asked the children, "Are you ready to die?" before swerving off the road.

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Craig Harris, a father of two children who had been on the bus, said that Walker sometimes drove too fast. He was going real fast and he hit a garbage bag.

"We all need to hug our babies and others we love a little tighter because we're not promised tomorrow", she said.

"My responsibility now is to look for answers - answers about why this tragedy occurred and answers for how we can make sure that this never, ever happens again", he said.

"I've been calling the school since the first day", Mateen told ABC affiliate WTVC in Chattanooga.

Hart said that while a fatal school bus crash is rare, he supports the idea of seatbelts on school buses to keep children safe. Several dozen more were injured, some so severely that they couldn't remember their names or where they lived.

The NTSB said they will be inspecting the bus, its engine chip, and studying the operations record from both Hamilton County Schools and Durham School Services, which the district contracts to run the bus services.

Video from the front, back and side of the bus is being examined, he said. "Obviously, this is a bad one".

Based in Warrenville, Illinois, Durham operates about 13,700 vehicles across the US and has almost as many drivers, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. It took nearly two hours for first responders to extract all the children out of the wreckage. The authorities had to resort to photographing the injured victims and let the teachers at their school identify them.

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