Did the speeding driver who crashed a school bus while ferrying schoolchildren in Tennessee do so intentionally?
The mother of one 6-year-old victim told CBS Radio that the driver, 24-year-old Johnthony Walker, 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.
The allegation isn't contained in the arrest affidavit, which accuses Walker of driving "well above" the 30 mph speed limit when he "lost control."
The bus flipped over Monday afternoon and smashed into a tree. Five children — four girls and one boy — were killed.
One student told CBS News: “He wasn't paying attention. He was going real fast. He hit a garbage can and a maibox 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.
Walker's mom has asked that everyone keep an open mind.
“He is a marvelous son," Gwenevere Cook said. "He's never been in trouble before."
The mangled wreck of the bus was hoisted onto a flatbed truck and driven away Tuesday afternoon.
More is being learned about some of the little ones gone too soon.
Cordayja Jones, 9, is described as “soft spoken” and always had a smile to brighten the day.
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 bus driver has been charged with five counts of vehicular homicide, reckless endangerment and reckless driving. He is being held on $107,000 bond.