Police: Bus Driver Going 'Well Above' Speed Limit Before Deadly Crash

Authorities say he may have caused the deadly crash on purpose.

CHATTANOOGA, TENN. - A school bus driver was going "well above" the posted speed limit of 30 m.p.h. before a fatal crash in Chattanooga that killed five elementary school children on Monday, according to the arrest report. 

Johnthony Walker, 24, was arrested on five counts of vehicular homicide, reckless endangerment, and reckless driving. 

Four girls and one boy from Woodmore Elementary School died, Hamilton County Interim Superintendent Kirk Kelly confirmed Tuesday morning. Twelve students remained in the hospital, Kelly added. 

Police determined Walker was driving at a high speed on the narrow winding road, based on witness statements and physical evidence. 

Walker was driving a bus owned by Durham School Services, which contracts with the Hamilton County School system. 

The CEO of the company said they are "devastated by the accident yesterday that tragically claimed the lives of Chattanooga students." 

"We are working with Chattanooga Police Department and  Hamilton County School District to investigate.  We also have additional team members arriving in Chattanooga today to provide support. We have offered to provide counseling to students and families of Hamilton County, as well as our employees.  We will provide all further updates in coordination with the Chattanooga Police Department and the District," CEO David A. Duke said in a statement. 

WBIR asked Durham officials what qualifications and requirements are needed to drive buses for them. 

A company spokesperson added that since the "whole team is mourning the loss of the students in Chattanooga" Durham will not comment further. 

Walker's arrest report stated he lost control of the bus and swerved off the right side of the road, striking an elevated driveway and mailbox, then swerved to the left and the bus began to overturn and hit a telephone pole and a tree. 

"Because of the reckless nature of Mr. Walker's driving, combined with his very high speed and weaving within his lane, Mr. Walker was charged with five counts of vehicular homicide by recklessness, reckless endangerment, and reckless driving," the report said.  

Walker's bond is set at $107,500. 

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation told 10News it appears Walker does not have a previous criminal history in Tennessee. 


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