Prosecutors Say Tennessee School Bus Driver Was on Phone During Fatal Crash

December 19, 2017 Updated: December 19, 2017

A prosecutor on Tuesday, Dec. 19, alleged that the driver in a deadly school bus crash in Tennessee took his phone out during the time of the accident.

The crash took place last year in Chattanooga, killing six elementary school students.

County District Attorney General Neal Pinkston said in court Tuesday that Johnthony Walker got a phone call at 3:17 p.m. that lasted almost four minutes. Pinkston said the first 911 call about the accident came at around 3:20 p.m., according to the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Officials also said that Walker was speeding in the November 2016 crash. There were 37 kids on board.

Walker, 25, faces 34 charges, including six counts of vehicular homicide.

He appeared in court on Tuesday, where prosecutors revealed their first pieces of evidence that he was on his phone. Several family members of the victims appeared in court, Newschannel 9 reported.

A reporter with Newschannel 9 said that moments after the hearing, one of the mothers of the slain children walked out and screamed: “They don’t give a [expletive] about our children!” She wouldn’t elaborate on what happened.

Meanwhile, prosecutors said they received a draft of the final National Transportation Safety Board report, a spokeswoman confirmed today, though it’s unclear what it actually says, according to the Times Free Press.

“Yes, we have a draft report,” spokeswoman Melydia Clewell confirmed to the paper. “It is not finalized and is not public record until the NTSB board votes on it.”

He posted bond and is out of jail, awaiting a trial date for Feb. 27, 2018.

Judge Don Poole also announced that he would quash a public records request from a Nashville media company for Walker’s jailhouse phone calls from 2016, according to the Times Free Press.

Last year, a federal lawsuit was filed against Walker, saying he had a “sadistic” habit of driving recklessly and slamming the brakes to punish children, The Epoch Times reported.

“This horror was foreseeable, predictable and preventable,” the lawsuit said, according to the Chattanooga Times Free Press.