Driver Accused in Chattanooga School Bus Horror Was in Crash Just 2 Months Ago: Report
The driver who was arrested following Monday's horrific school bus crash that left five children dead was in a minor accident just two months earlier, a report has revealed.
Johnthony Walker, 24, has been charged with vehicular homicide in the deaths of the elementary school students, among other charges.
In addition to startling reports that authorities received complaints about Walker's behavior behind the wheel in the months prior to the crash, WRCB reports that he was involved in an accident while driving a bus two months ago.
On September 20, Walker was driving a school bus in Chattanooga when, according to a police report, he sideswiped a Kia Soul going in the opposite direction after he allegedly failed to yield while maneuvering through a blind curve.
The report indicated that children were not sitting in the front rows but did not state whether students were onboard in the back.
No one was hurt and there was no indication that alcohol or drugs were involved. No charges were filed.
Following Monday's crash, Walker has been charged with five counts of vehicular homicide, reckless endangerment, and reckless driving.
Court documents allege Walker was driving well over the posted 30 mph limit when he lost control of the bus, which ended up wrapped around a tree.
Dozens of students were on the bus at the time. In addition to the five dead, six remained in critical condition on Tuesday.
Walker was jailed on $107,500 bail for a court appearance November 29.
In the wake of the tragedy, the mother of one 6-year-old victim told CBS Radio that the driver asked the kids on board if they were prepared to die prior to the wreck.
“My daughter said right before the bus flipped that he was speeding around the curve and asked them, ‘are y’all ready to die,’” Jasmine Mateen told CBS News’ Mark Strassmann.
That allegation is not contained in the arrest affidavit.
One student told CBS News: “He wasn't paying attention. He was going real fast. He hit a garbage can and a mailbox and then we flipped over and hit a tree real hard.”
Craig Harris, who says his two kids were injured in the crash, said he had concerns about the driver.
“There has been times when I’ve seen him go faster than he should have been going,” he told reporters.
More is also being learned about some of the children gone too soon.
Cordayja Jones, 9, is described as “soft spoken” and always had a smile to brighten the day, while Zyanna Harris “loved to dance' and had "a good heart.” Zoie Nash, 9, was a "strong baby girl” who her family says is “watching" them today.
The other two children, a boy and a girl, have not yet been identified.