Former bus driver sentenced to 4 years in crash that killed 6 children

Erin O. Smith/ Chattanooga Times Free Press via AP

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — Johnthony Walker, the bus driver convicted in the bus crash that killed six children, was sentenced Tuesday in a Hamilton County courtroom.

According to WTVC, the judge sentenced him to four years behind bars after he was found guilty of 11 counts of reckless aggravated assault, seven counts of assault, reckless driving, reckless endangerment and use of a portable device back in March.

Walker was driving 37 children from Woodmere Elementary School when the wreck occurred on a winding Chattanooga road.

Prosecutor Crystle Carrion said during trial that Walker was driving 50 mph (80 kph) on the narrow road when the bus ran off the pavement, hit a pole and flipped into a tree.

She said Walker was driving too fast to navigate a tight curve safely and drifted into the oncoming lane, then over corrected, leading to the crash.

Walker took the stand and said he wasn’t on his cellphone when the bus crashed. He also 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 that no evidence suggested the second vehicle was in Walker’s lane.