Several families from Chattanooga, Tennessee are seeking compensatory damages after a bus accident claimed the lives of six children who attended Woodmore Elementary school last year.
According to recent articles, Johnthony Walker drove a school bus for the elementary school everyday. He had been in route to take the children home from school when he began to accelerate rapidly down a narrow Chattanooga road. According to police and the accounts of several children on the bus, the man was going “well above” the posted speed limit when he sped around a curb.
One of the children had recalled to their parents that the man asked if the kids were “ready to die” before losing control of the bus. When authorities arrived on the scene, the bus was flipped over and wrapped around a tree, they wrote in an arrest affidavit. There were 37 children students from the elementary school on the bus at the time.
However, Walker's mom declared the wreck a “drastic accident,” vouching that her son had tried his hardest to rescue many of the children on the bus in the aftermath of the accident. A witness, by the name of Gwenevere Cook, also claimed that she witnessed the man trying to help the injured children moments after the horrifying crash.
“He was trying to get (the children) off the bus,” Cook said. “All the bodies were limp.”
Despite the accounts of Walker's mother and an additional witness, police investigators testified that the bus driver was going 20 miles per hour over the posted speed limit moments before he lost control of the bus. In addition to the evidence of speeding, investigations conducted by state and federal agencies revealing that students had previously complained about Walker's conduct behind the wheel. They also discovered that the private company that employed the man, Durham School Services, had a lengthy history of their drivers getting in crashes in the state of Tennessee.
Walker was charged with six counts of vehicular homicide - one count for every child that was killed. A jury also found him guilty of reckless driving, reckless endangerment, using a cellphone behind the wheel of a bus, and four counts of reckless aggravated assault.
Following this indictment, a number of wrongful death and personal injury lawsuits were brought by parents. As of now, two of the wrongful death suits and two personal injury cases have been settled. Durham School Services has provided approximately $2 million in medical fees for the families and has made plans to remediate in regard to the remaining recovering children.
Additional charges may be filed against Walker if Hamilton County District Attorney General Neal Pinkston returns with more evidence like he said he will. It is currently unclear how many new charges he is seeking.
Experienced Illinois Wrongful Death Attorneys
If a family has died due to the negligence of another individual, company or entity, you may be entitled to compensation. The attorneys at Benassi & Benassi are dedicated to helping you get the compensation you deserve for the death of your loved one. Contact us today for a free consultation.