Tennessee Bus Driver Charged in Deadly Crash

(CN) – The driver of a Tennessee school bus that crashed Monday, killing five children and injuring 20 others, has been charged with vehicular homicide, police said.

Johnthony Walker, 24, was charged with five counts of vehicular homicide as well as charges of reckless driving and reckless endangerment, Chattanooga Police Chief Fred Fletcher said during an overnight news conference.

At least five children were killed Monday afternoon when a school bus Walker was driving flipped on its side and wrapped around a tree in Chattanooga. There were 35 elementary school students on board.

More than 20 children were hospitalized with injuries, Fletcher said. The police chief called the crash “every public safety professional’s worst nightmare.”

He said investigators were looking “very, very strongly” at speed being a possible cause of the crash.

An arrest affidavit reportedly states that Walker was driving “well above” the speed limit of 30 mph when the bus crashed.

Walker has been arrested and his bond was set at $107,500, according to local news reports.

No other vehicles were in the crash. The National Transportation Safety Board said a team would be heading to Chattanooga on Tuesday to investigate.

The interim superintendent for Hamilton County Schools said that Woodmore Elementary School would be open Tuesday, with counselors available for students and staff.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam called the fatal bus crash “a tragic event” and said, “We’re going to do everything we can to assist in any way.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photo courtesy of the Chattanooga Police Department.

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