Driver in deadly school bus crash could face more charges
Jul. 20, 2017
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — The driver in a Tennessee school bus crash that killed six elementary students on board in November could soon face additional charges, prosecutors said Thursday.
According to the Chattanooga Times Free Press , prosecutors said in Hamilton County Criminal Court that they plan to bring the grand jury more charges against Johnthony Walker in the next two weeks.
Walker faces six counts of vehicular homicide, plus charges of reckless aggravated assault, reckless endangerment, reckless driving and using a portable electronic device as a bus driver.
Walker's attorney, Amanda Dunn, said the charges would be similar to what Walker already faces.
Dunn also contended Thursday that Walker has no criminal history and is eligible for an alternative sentencing program called diversion, which could get his case dismissed after he completes probation, community service or some other treatment.
The program applies to misdemeanors and class C or D felonies, Dunn said, adding that Walker faces class C felony charges. It only applies to first-time offenders. A judge would need to approve the request.
Dunn said she will file an application for the program in the next week. Hamilton County District Attorney General Neal Pinkston said he plans to respond around that time.
Some family members of the victims have questioned why Walker faces charges connected to only 10 children, since 37 children were on board and several were injured.
Pinkston said he needs accurate medical information first for each child if he wants to support additional charges against Walker.
Authorities say Walker was driving off the designated bus route and was speeding when he wrecked on a curvy road.
Information from: Chattanooga Times Free Press, http://www.timesfreepress.com