CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — An elementary school bus driver has been arrested and faces charges after a deadly crash in Chattanooga that claimed at least 5 children’s lives.
Calling the Monday afternoon crash “every public safety professional’s worst nightmare,” Chattanooga Police Chief Fred Fletcher says to an overnight news conference 24-year-old bus driver Johnthony Walker was charged with five counts of vehicular homicide. Walker was also charged with reckless driving and reckless endangerment.
Fletcher said earlier that investigators were looking at speed “very, very strongly” as a factor in the crash.
As reported earlier, the Woodmore Elementary school bus was carrying 35 children when it went off the road Monday around 3:30 p.m. and crashed. Photos show the bus mangled around a tree at the scene. Police say the students on the bus ranged from kindergarten through fifth grade.
Police say overnight that five children were killed in the crash. Earlier in the day, Hamilton County District Attorney Neal Pinkston told news outlets the crash killed six. The Associated Press wasn’t immediately able to reach officials early Tuesday to clarify the discrepancy.