Each day, millions of parents trust their children to those who are sworn to drive them to and from school safely. Each day, thousands, if not more, bus drivers accept and complete that responsibility. School bus accidents are rare occurrences, only 8% of the reported 134 people killed in school-transportation related accidents were riding in school buses according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Still, these accidents are tragic. The Times Free Press reports on the sentence of Johnthony Walker, a school bus driver who was in an accident that killed six children.
No one who testified at the sentencing hearing said that 25-year-old Johnthony Walker was a bad man. At the time of the accident, he had no prior criminal history and was working two jobs.
However, during discovery in the civil lawsuit regarding the crash, it was revealed that Durham School Services had received hundreds of alerts that Walker was speeding in his bus before the fatal 2016 crash.
Prosecutors said that at the time of the November 21st, 2016 crash, Walker was on his phone and was going about 47 to 50 mph in an area with a 5-mph speed limit. The bus swerved across the road and overturned, hitting a walnut tree.
Six children were killed and another 31 others were either injured or traumatized by the accident.
Walker was convicted of reckless aggravated assault.
Walker’s attorney requested an alternative sentence, which Judge Don Poole denied. The lawyer intends to appeal that decision.
Walker was sentenced to four years in prison for his crime.
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