Walker sentenced to 4 years for Woodmore bus crash


CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) — Johnthony Walker was sentenced to four years in prison for the Woodmore bus crash that killed six students.

He was convicted in March of criminally negligent homicide, reckless aggravated assault, assault, reckless endangerment, reckless driving, and using a portable device by a school bus driver.

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Before the trial, Walker served nearly a year in jail. He will get credit for time served and he will be eligible for parole.

At Tuesday’s sentencing hearing, prosecutors asked that some of the sentences be consecutive, but the judge decided to serve them at the same time.

Jasmine Mateen, whose daughter was killed in the crash, yelled and left the courtroom upset when she found out the sentence.

“If this crash happened on Signal Mountain, if he was a bus driver who killed six white kids, he wouldn’t get four years,” Mateen said.

The sentence came after parents testified during the sentencing hearing. While two mothers said they wanted Walker to serve prison time, Misti Nash, spoke on Walker’s behalf.

“I cry more for you than I cry for myself, if I am being real with you. I worry more about you more, you know what I am saying? Because, yes, I lost a daughter. But you’ve got six kids you’ve got to live with,” Nash said.

Walker addressed the families of the victims.

“I just want to apologize for taking the lights of your lives and how it has impacted everybody,” Walker said through tears. “I never meant for any of this to happen. I just want to say I am sorry.”

The bus loaded with children from Woodmore Elementary crashed on Talley Road in November of 2016.