A judge refused to grant probation to Johnthony Walker, who could stand trial as early as this fall for the death of six students and the injury of dozens of others in last November’s school bus crash in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Melydia Clewell, a spokeswoman for the Hamilton County District Attorney’s office, confirmed for School Transportation News that defense attorney Amanda Dunn filed a motion last week for judicial diversion, or probation, in response to the Nov. 21 incident. Walker has no prior criminal record.
Dunn also filed a motion for reduced bond, and Clewell said the judge requested a review of audio tape from the preliminary hearing before making a written ruling, which is expected to be released over the next month.
Walker’s next court date is Oct. 3, when Clewell said he will either enter a guilty plea or the judge will set a trial date
A grand jury indicted Walker this spring on six counts of vehicular homicide as well as four counts of reckless aggravated assault and one count each of reckless driving, reckless endangerment and operating a mobile device while behind the wheel of a school bus. The DA’s office filed another 14 counts of reckless aggravated assault and seven counts of assault in July.
Clewell said the additional charges cover the other less severe injuries that students suffered.
STN left a voice message with defense attorney Dunn, but she had yet to return the call at this report.