Warning Signs About Chattanooga School Bus Driver Weeks, Months Before Fatal Crash

Vickie Mathis
Ноября 27, 2016

Bloodied Woodmore Elementary School students lay on stretchers, while others walked away dazed with their parents after the crash, local news outlets reported.

The process of identifying the injured moved slowly, Koller said, and hospital staff resorted to photographing each child for teachers to identify.

The bus was carrying 35 children from Woodmore Elementary School, authorities said.

Officials say he was apparently speeding along a narrow, winding road when he wrapped his vehicle around a tree. Gwenevere Cook told CNN that her son tried to rescue children after the bus overturned, pulling some of them to safety.

A bus carrying almost 40 elementary school children ran off the road and slammed into a tree.

There were 37 young children on the bus.

On Tuesday, the 24-year-old driver of the bus was arrested.

Police have said Walker, 24, was speeding when he veered off the winding 30 miles per hour Talley Road on Monday. Wednesday, officials said Walker tested negative for drugs and alcohol.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash and said Wednesday that the road the crash occurred on was not on the school's designated bus route.

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Police said they have not yet spoken to the children who were on the bus.

Twenty-three students were taken to area hospitals, and 12 were still there as of Tuesday evening, with six in critical condition. Hart said that it was too early to determine whether excessive speed was the main cause of the crash and discussed NTSB recommendations regarding safety belts on buses.

Associated Press reported that Walker had been in an accident in September, but no injuries were reported as there were no children in the front row and the damage to the vehicle was negligible.

Hart said that the investigation had just begun and that it wasn't known why Walker - who received his commercial driver's license only seven months ago - had left his normal route. Four girls and one boy from Woodmore Elementary School died.

Walker was driving on a narrow, winding road at well above the speed limit of 30 miles per hour (48 km per hour) when he lost control, leaving the bright yellow bus mangled and almost severed in two, the affidavit said. Emergency personnel work at the scene of a fatal school bus wreck in Chattanooga, Tenn., Monday, Nov. 21, 2016. "The picture that you paint of someone who'd do something like this is not the vibe I got from him", Breena Ross told the station. "The detective asked me what my child had on and said your baby's deceased".

The Illinois-based company is one of the largest suppliers of school bus services, operating about 13,700 vehicles across the country and employing almost as many drivers, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

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.

"Our entire team at Durham School Services is devastated by the accident yesterday that tragically claimed the lives of Chattanooga students", the company's statement said.

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