TIME Tennessee

Bus Driver Arrested in Fatal Chattanooga School Bus Crash

Police said 35 schoolchildren were on the bus when it crashed

(CHATTANOOGA, Tenn.) — Police say the driver of a school bus that crashed in Chattanooga, Tennessee, killing six people, has been arrested.

Chattanooga Police Chief Fred Fletcher says 24-year-old Johnthony Walker has been charged with five counts of vehicular homicide, reckless endangerment and reckless driving.

Fletcher says additional charges may be added as the case proceeds to a grand jury.

Hamilton County District Attorney Neal Pinkston told media outlets that five people died at the scene and one died at the hospital. Melydia Clewell, spokeswoman for the district attorney, confirmed the number. Police have said the bus crash sent 23 people to area hospitals and 35 schoolchildren were on the bus Monday afternoon.

The school bus was mangled around a tree at the scene. Police say the students on the bus ranged from kindergarten through fifth grade.

The bus was carrying students from Woodmore Elementary.

“Our hearts go out, as well as the hearts of all these people behind me, to the families, the neighborhood, the school, for all the people involved in this, we assure you we are doing everything we can,” Chattanooga Police Chief Fred Fletcher said.

Fletcher said at a news conference that the bus was the only vehicle involved in the crash.

At the state Capitol in Nashville, Gov. Bill Haslam called the crash “a tragic event” and offered assistance.


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