Tenn. bus driver going ‘well above’ speed limit ahead of crash
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Tuesday, November 22, 2016, 8:39 AM
The Tennessee bus driver behind the wheel during a wreck that left five children dead was speeding “well above” the posted speed limit on a narrow, winding road, authorities said.
Johnthony Walker — charged with five counts of vehicular homicide for the deaths of five Woodmore Elementary School students — lost control of the bus after he drove at “a high rate of speed” on the tiny Chattanooga road, police wrote in an arrest affidavit.
Three fourth graders, a first grader and a kindergartner were killed in the wreck. Another dozen kids remained hospitalized Tuesday morning, six of whom are in critical condition.
Police have not said exactly how fast Walker was driving, but mentioned that the posted speed limit was just 30 mph.
A school bus from Woodmore Elementary in Chattanooga, Tenn., overturned Monday killing five students.
(Chattanooga Fire Department)
The 24-year-old driver also faces charges of reckless driving and reckless endangerment for the “reckless nature of Mr. Walker’s driving, combined with his very high speed,” according to the police report.
He is being held on a $ 107,500 bond.
Woodmore was open for classes Tuesday morning, and staffed extra consolers to support grieving students and staff, school officials said. Any student who chooses to stay home instead will be excused from class.
Johnthony Walker, 24, was arrested.
“Those who want to come to school, we want to reach out and help,” a school official said at a Tuesday morning press conference. “We’re going to help either way that we can.”
The five slain children — four girls and one boy — have not yet been identified.
Thirty-five students from kindergarten through fifth grade were on board when the bus flipped onto its side and wrapped around a tree Monday afternoon. The bus was the only vehicle involved in the crash, but Chattanooga Police Chief Fred Fletcher said the scene was complicated and covered a significant area.
A woman escorts three children away from the scene of a school bus crash involving multiple fatalities in Chattanooga, Tenn.
Emergency responders needed almost two hours to get all the children off the bus. More than 20 children were taken to a hospital for treatment.
At the state Capitol in Nashville, Gov. Bill Haslam called the crash “a tragic event” and offered assistance.
“We’re going to do everything we can to assist in any way,” Haslam said. “It’s a sad situation anytime there’s a school bus with children involved, which there is in this case.”
With News Wire Services