You know the name of the bus driver by now—24 year old Johnthony Walker.
But what do we know about him?
Johnthony Walker trained for his job as a school bus driver for Durham last August. This was his first year on the job. Durham is the bus contractor for the Hamilton county school district.
Walker’s record has not been spotless. A Tennessee Electronic Traffic crash report says he was involved in a minor accident on Sylvan Drive on September 20.
No one was hurt, but Walker’s bus reportedly was across the yellow line on a curve.
That accident, which produced damage to both vehicles apparently did not keep him from continuing to drive the school bus.
The report says no one was riding in the first rows of his bus.
But yesterday, Walker’s life changed as his bus—moving at a high rate of speed hit a mailbox, a utility pole and then a tree which split the bus almost in half on Talley Road.
We spoke with his mother by phone this morning. She is visiting in Atlanta. She describes her conversation with Walker moments after the crash.
GWENEVERE COOK, JOHNTHONY WALKER’S MOTHER.
“My son called me as soon as it happened. (Bill Mitchell – What did he say?) He said “I love you Mom, I’ve been in a domestic accident, on the bus”. While he was trying to get the kids off the bus, blood was everywhere, bodies was everywhere, he was explaining, and the phone disconnected. That was at three twenty. Yesterday.”
Ms. Cook says her son has never been in trouble.
GWENEVERE COOK “He don’t hang on the street, he don’t smoke, he don’t do drugs, he don’t drink. He’s never been in trouble, never, ever been in trouble.”
Johnthony Walker in in the Hamilton county jail tonight charged with 5 counts of vehicular homicide.
His bail is set at 107-thousand-500 dollars.
His first appearance before a judge will be on November 29th.
Gwenevere Cook said she wants to show compassion for the families of the children who died or were hurt in that crash.