In the moments following the deadly school bus crash in Chattanooga, Tennessee that claimed the lives of five young children, driver Johnthony Walker called his mother Gwenevere Cook. “I love you mom, I’ve been in an accident on the bus,” he told her, “Mom there are kids dead, I hope it’s not my fault.” Unfortunately, all eyes are now on the 24-year-old who only got his commercial drivers license last April and was involved in another minor bus crash just two months ago.
The crash occurred Monday afternoon, just after classes let out at the Woodmore Elementary School, not more than a mile away. Around two dozen of the 35 students on board the bus had to be taken to the hospital. 12 still remain there, six in critical condition. Emergency responders freed all the students, who said they were dazed and bloodied. Speed is being blamed as the culprit, though authorities are also waiting for the results of blood tests to determine if Walker had drugs or alcohol in his system.
Unbelievably, only six states in the nation require school buses to have seat belts, Tennessee not being one of them. The National Transportation Safety Board is currently investigating the crash and hopes that the bus’s black box will contain information that will help explain exactly what happened. Walker has been arrested and charged with five counts of vehicular homicide, plus additional counts of endangerment and reckless driving.