Report: Contractor Knew of Chattanooga School Bus Driver’s Speeding

Hamilton County Schools released a written statement that a transportation administrator warned the local Durham School Services contractor that school bus driver Johnthony Walker speeding while operating his route, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

The Chattanooga, Tennessee school district said that Transportation Supervisor Ben Coulter, a county employee, spoke with an unidentified Durham representative on Wednesday, Nov. 16 and again on Friday, Nov. 18 about parent complaints that Walker was putting Woodmore Elementary students at risk by driving bus 366 unsafely.

AJC reports that Durham declined comment on whether Walker was reprimanded.

Three days after the second complaint, Walker hit a mailbox and a utility pole before flipping the bus on its side and crashing into a tree that caved in the roof. Six students ultimately died and a dozen were seriously injured.

Walker appeared in court on Tuesday on six counts of vehicular homicide, reckless driving and reckless endangerment. A preliminary hearing was postponed until Dec. 16. He is being held in the Hamilton County jail on a $107,500 bond.

The National Transportation Safety Board, which is investigating the crash alongside the Chattanooga Police Department, said Walker deviated from his normal route when he crashed on Talley Road. Walker tested negative for alcohol and drugs following the crash, but NTSB Chairman Christopher Hart added that federal investigators are forwarding a blood sample to another lab for a more detailed analysis.

Hart also said the NTSB is investigating a minor collision in September that Walker was involved in while behind the wheel of his school bus. NTSB said Walker obtained his commercial driver's license and school bus certificate in April.

Last modified onWednesday, 30 November 2016 15:39