Driver in fatal Chattanooga school bus crash charged with vehicular homicide

Johnthony Walker (Courtesy: Chattanooga Police Department)
Johnthony Walker (Courtesy: Chattanooga Police Department)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN/CNN) — The driver of the school bus that crashed in Chattanooga Monday and killed five children faces five counts of vehicular homicide.

Johnthony Walker, 24, also faces charges of reckless endangerment and reckless driving. His bond was set at $107,500.

Investigators are looking into whether Walker was speeding before the crash occurred with the police chief saying speed is being “very, very strongly” considered the cause.

PHOTOS: Deadly Chattanooga school bus crash

Walker's affadavit. (Courtesy: WTVC)
Walker’s affidavit. (Courtesy: WTVC)

An affidavit filed in Hamilton County court states the 24-year-old was traveling at a high rate of speed, well above the posted speed limit of 30 miles per hour at the time of the crash.

Investigators said he lost control of the bus and swerved off the roadway to the right, striking an elevated driveway and mailbox. He swerved to the left and began to overturn, striking a telephone pole and tree, according to the affidavit.

Tests showed there were no drugs or alcohol in Walker’s system at the time of the crash. A test was completed by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation in Nashville.

A child who was on the bus described how Walker was driving prior to the crash.

“He wasn’t paying attention. He was going real fast and he hit a garbage bag. We then hit a mailbox then flip over and hit a tree real hard,” said the boy.

While that boy survived, five other children were killed. The school system said they were in kindergarten, first grade, and fourth grade. Family members began identifying them Tuesday.

Walker worked for Durham School Services and was contracted out to the school system. Click here to read about Durham School Services.

Official records show Walker had a previous property damage accident case in Hamilton County this September as well as a failure to show proof of insurance and subsequent suspension in October 2013, according to the Department of Safety and Homeland Security.

Click here to follow News 2’s continuing coverage of the Chattanooga school bus crash.