On November 21, 2016, a school bus carrying 37 children ranging in age from Kindergarten to Fifth graders crashed about one mile from the school. Ultimately, six children were killed in the crash and several more were injured. The bus driver was indicted on multiple charges including six counts of vehicular homicide. This week, his trial concluded. CNN reports on the verdict as well as details of the case.
A jury determined that Johnthony Walker was guilty of the following:
- 6 counts of criminal negligent homicide
- 11 charges of reckless aggravated assault
- 7 charges of assault
- Reckless endangerment
- Reckless driving
- Use of a portable electronic device by a school bus driver
According to prosecutors, Walker was speaking with a co-worker from a second job just hours before the crash.
In addition, prosecutors said that Walker was driving well over the speed limit at the time of the crash. Witnesses detailed during the trial that Walker left the stop sign just before the accident fast. Witnesses said that Walker was going in excess of 20 mph above the speed limit.
Walker stated that as he came around a corner, a white “transportation van” crossed the lines into his lane and he swerved to avoid a collision. This caused him to lose control of the bus, which flipped onto its side and wrapped around a tree.
In addition to being on the phone shortly before the accident, it was revealed that Walker was not on the designated bus route he should have been driving. Walker said this was because he had been given an older bus route and did not receive an updated route when it changed.
Walker is scheduled for sentencing on April 24th.
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