The bus driver in the deadly crash that killed six elementary school children in Tennessee was found guilty of criminally negligent homicide on March 1..
Johnthony Walker, 25, was driving a school bus carrying 37 children when it crashed on Talley Road in Chattanooga on Nov. 21, 2016, reported ABC News.
Prosecutors said the 25-year-old was using his phone while speeding before he drove into a ditch, hitting a mailbox and electrical pole, finally crashing into a tree, according to the news station.
More than 20 of the school children were injured, and six died from the injuries sustained in the crash, reported Fox News.
Tennessee school bus driver convicted in crash that killed 6 children https://t.co/SKuLgz6omp
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The jury found Walker guilty on 27 of 33 charges — six counts of criminally negligent assault, 11 counts of reckless aggravated assault, seven counts of assault, one count of reckless endangerment, one count of reckless driving and one count of use of a portable electronic device by a school bus driver.
— Lady Owl (@1961LadyOwl) February 27, 2018
During the trial, prosecutors argued the bus was driving at a speed of 50 mph which was too fast to properly navigate on a narrow road. As a result, the bus drifted into an oncoming lane after which Walker overcorrected and the bus crashed, reported the news station.
However, the 25-year-old said he was only traveling 35 mph when he reached the curve of the road and another vehicle encroached his lane, according to Fox news. Chattanooga police officer Joe Warren said there was no evidence of the second vehicle in Walker’s lane.
In December last year, prosecutors said Walker was using his cell phone during the time of the crash, which he had denied. County District Attorney General Neal Pinkston said 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. which indicated Walker could have been on his phone during the time of the crash, according to the Chattanooga Times Free Press.
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Defense lawyer Amanda Dunn argued on Wednesday, Feb. 28, that even though the phone call lasted almost four minutes, the conversation did not, reported ABC News. Walker told the court the conversation only lasted “10 to 15 seconds” using a Bluetooth device around his neck. He said the call was “pretty much letting [the caller] know I was driving and couldn’t talk.”
— Law & Crime Network (@LawCrimeNetwork) February 27, 2018
He is due to be sentenced on April 24.