by Bethany Montgomery
November 2, 2016 on a Monday afternoon, a school bus driver veered off Talley Road, smashing into a tree, and killing six elementary children. The bus flipped onto its side and wrapped around a tree. However, authorities say that the driver had no alcohol or drugs in his system.
Chattanooga Police Sgt. Austin Garrett said a toxicology test was performed on Johnthony Walker, the bus driver. He is now in jail on six vehicular homicide charges, reckless endangerment, and reckless driving. Federal authorities said Walker left the designated bus route and purposely drove onto a curvy road. He did this while carrying 37 children on their way home from Woodmore Elementary School in Chattanooga, Tennessee. It is stated that he was driving well over the posted 30 mph limit when he lost control of the bus and slammed into a tree. Five children remain in the hospital in critical condition. The Associated Press reported that it took emergency responders about 2 hours to get all the children out of the bus and seek medical attention.
After people found out about the bus crash, they rushed to donate blood at Blood Assurance leaving a line of blood donors out the door. They wanted to donate blood to help the few children in critical condition and all the others who were injured. They wanted to help as much as possible. The community wanted to give these children the best chance of survival.
Also in response to the bus crash in Chattanooga, the NFL Tennessee Titans will be donating $25,000 to help the families of the children involved in the crash. They also wore W.E.S (Woodmore Elementary School) on their football helmets to honor and support the families that were affected by the fatal bus crash.
This crash has raised concerns of seat belt use in buses from many member of the community. The Fort Dodge Community School District has discussed the use of seat belts in school buses, but it hasn’t been talked about a lot. However, seat belts will most likely not be added to these buses anytime soon.
Durham School Services will also be offering a multi-million dollar safety enhancement package which includes a nationwide complaint management system, smart cameras that will turn on when they sense unusual driving, and the appointment of a chief safety and data compliance officer. This information was released after the Hamilton County Schools released 30 pages of complaints that involved Johnthony Walker’s driving of the school bus.