Digging into Durham Bus Services’ safety policies after fatal crash

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- After the deadly bus crash in Chattanooga that left five children dead and many others in the hospital, WREG started investigating.

We discovered 24-year-old Johnthony Walker, who is facing multiple charges for the crash, was in another bus crash two months ago, less than a mile from yesterday's deadly crash.

According to the report, he sideswiped a car going around a blind corner. The report said no children were in the front of the bus at the time and no one was injured.

"We know that there's going to be lots of questions and discussions about bus safety," said Megan Buell with the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security. S

he said she knows there will be talk down the road of how to improve bus safety.

"We're just focusing on the present which is the investigation of the crash. How it happened, why it happened and of course just hoping we can help these families heal," she said.

On Tuesday, WREG reached out to Durham Bus Services multiple times for a copy of their safety policies. We wanted to know how drivers are screened and what kind of background checks there are, but we never heard back. WREG's Shay Arthur did do some digging and found some of the requirements listed if you want to be a Durham bus driver in Memphis.

Under qualifications it said you must pass a substance abuse screening test and will be subject to random substance abuse screening.

The applicant must also practice defensive driving at all times and avoid accidents.

In DeSoto County, a school spokesperson said the district runs their own bus services, they aren't contracted out. Drivers also go through a background check and students do not wear seat belts but, because it's Thanksgiving break, no one was available to speak with us.

"Unfortunately it takes a tragedy to put light on certain situations," said parent, Victor Henry.

Parents we talked to on Tuesday said hopefully more conversations will be had about keeping children safe.

"I pray for my children every day. Ask God to cover them," said mom, Jacque Ford.

We also asked Durham if Walker was ever disciplined after that first crash but never heard back.

On Tuesday, the NTSB said they plan to look closely at Durham Services, hiring, screening and training process.