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School bus driver in fatal crash case denies he was on phone

March 1, 2018

Johnthony Walker sits during a brief recess in his trial in Judge Don Poole's courtroom at the Hamilton County Courthouse in Chattanooga, Tenn., Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018. Walker, a Tennessee school bus driver, was on his cellphone and driving 20 mph (30 kph) over the speed limit when he caused the crash that killed six elementary school students, a prosecutor said in court Tuesday. (Erin O. Smith/Chattanooga Times Free Press via AP)

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — A Tennessee school bus driver who’s charged in a wreck that killed six children has testified that he wasn’t on his cellphone when the crash occurred.

Johnthony Walker also testified at his trial Wednesday in Hamilton County Criminal Court that he didn’t leave his traffic lane before the Nov. 21, 2016, crash.

Prosecutor Crystle Carrion said Tuesday that Walker was speeding and on his cellphone.

The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports jurors began deliberating Wednesday on the 34 charges, including vehicular homicide. Deliberations continue Thursday.

Walker said he was traveling 35 mph (56 kph) when he approached a curve, and another vehicle dipped into his lane.

Chattanooga police officer Joe Warren testified Tuesday that no evidence suggested the second vehicle was in Walker’s lane. Warren estimated Walker was traveling 50 mph (80 kph) in a 30 mph (48 kph) zone.

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Information from: Chattanooga Times Free Press, http://www.timesfreepress.com

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