A Chattanooga, Tennessee, school bus driver has been charged in a deadly crash that killed at least five children. The bus ran into a tree on Monday.
According to the Times Free Press reports, Johnthony Walker was charged with five counts of vehicular homicide, reckless endangerment and reckless driving. Chattanooga Police Chief Fred Fletcher confirmed that five children died at the scene of the tragic accident, six are in critical condition, but could not say if any fatalities had occurred at the hospital.
However, the Hamilton County Department of Education confirmed that 37 students from Woodmore Elementary School were on the bus during the incident ranged from kindergarten to fifth grade. Of the 37 hurt, six were critically injured and another six were admitted, but none were critically injured. The remaining 20 students were treated and released from a range of local hospitals, the newspaper noted.
Fletcher said at a recent news conference that “one contributing factor [to the accident] may be speed,” saying that the crash is “every public-safety professional’s worst nightmare.”
“Our hearts go out, as well as the hearts of all the people around me, to the family, the neighborhood, the school and all the people involved in this,” Fletcher said. “We assure you we’re doing everything we can to help everybody be as safe as they can, get the care they need and get the support they need.
Gov. Bill Haslam has also commented on the accident: “We’re going to do everything we can to assist in any way. It’s a sad situation anytime there’s a school bus with children involved, which there is in this case. We will do everything we can to assist in what I think is going to be a very sad situation,” he said of the crash.
Sending our condolences to the families. So sad.