UPDATE: Sixth Child Dies; Three Remain Critical; Two in Fair Condition; 25 Others Released in Chattanooga Bus Crash

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Speed has continued to be the primary factor behind a deadly bus crash that killed six elementary school children and left five in extremely critical condition one day before the Chattanooga Tennessee School closed for Thanksgiving Day vacation.

Johnthony Walker, 24, has been charged with five counts of vehicular homicide, reckless endangerment, and reckless driving. He is being held in lieu of $107,500.00 bond. he is likely to be charged with an additional count of vehicular homicide. 

The Monday crash, which sliced the bus in half down to the chassis, occurred on Talley Road, a curving country road, at approximately 3:30pm EST and was the only vehicle involved in the crash. Police have indicated Walker was driving at excessive speeds, clearly more than the 30mph posted limit and road conditions were not considered a factor. 

The medical conditions on the children in critical condition range from severe head, neck and spinal trauma. Names of the victims are being released by funeral providers and confirmed through family members. 

The children involved in the crash, were being transported home from Woodmere Elementary School, which where all they all attended. Woodmere houses kindergartners to fifth grades making the children ages five to ten.

Second Accident For Bus Driver

Walker has been the target of numerous complaints with one mother complaining repeatedly to the Board of Education, Durham School Services, the company who operates the buses, and the principal of the school that the children, one of whom died in the crash, were injured repeatedly when Walker drove them.

The complaints, in letters and phone calls reported in NBC.com were fromJasmine Mateen, and included multiple incidences of braking sharply so to cause the children to jerk forward and hit their heads, fear, intimidation, bullying and verbal abuse.

The principal went as far as to read the letter to Walker, in front of the children, who from all accounts shrugged his shoulders and said, "'So, I'd do it again."'

On the day of the crash, the same mother said two of her other daughters, both of whom sustained treatable injuries, said he had been speeding, jerking the steering wheel, and drinking on the job and ominously asked the children "'are you ready to die?"'.

The devastating and deadly crash is the second for Walker who had a property damage accident recently and records show his license had been suspended in 2014 for failure to show proof of insurance. Allegedly he has no other vehicle related accidents in Tennessee.

First Responders Arrive on the Scene

Chief of Chattanooga Police Fred Fletcher explain during a press conference posted on the micro-messaging platform Twitter the "a bus accident with multiple injuries is every public servants' worst nightmare."

First-responders which run the range of Fire, Police, EMS and medical officials "worked for many hours, using specialized tool and strategies to remove all children. Advanced technology used to process the scene. A warrant issued to remove black bus and to review the bus video or multiple video cameras," Fletcher added.

Officials described the scene as chaotic with 35 known victims, inside the bus, taking nearly two hours to extract the final victim from the vehicle.

An accident reenactment, shown on multiple media organizations, shows the bus traveling at a high rate of speed, swerving off the right side of the road, attempting to right itself, flipping, sliding on its side at a high rate of speed along the road, flipping again and slamming into a pole careening off the mailbox and driveway and slamming into a tree which sliced through the vehicle roof.

Surviving children are talking with media and have all said the driver walked away from the bus and "'just left us."' Walker's mother, Gwenevere Cook, confirmed her son had multiple communications with her after the crash explaining the initial crash and then the fatalities. She explained what had happened attributing the cause to "God's will."

Chief Fletcher has indicated more chargers may be brought against Walker as this case proceeds to the Grand Jury.  

Image courtesy of Chattanooga Fire Department posted on via Chattanooga Police Twitter. Chattanooga Fire Department/Handout Via Reuters.

This is a developing story.

Haute Tease

  • Beltway Insider: Government Shutdown Ends; Obama Nominates New Homeland Chief; Al Shabaab Strike; Kennedy Confirmed

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    President Barack Obama signed into legislation a bill that reopened the government, sent furloughed employees back to work, and ended the looming threat of default and the first United States government shutdown, in seventeen years.

     
  • Beltway Insider: Trump/Pence/Netanyahu; Flynn Fallout; France/UK; Pakistan; Russia; WTC Sheikh; Jane Roe

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    President Trump suffered the thrill of victory with renewed Israeli relations and the agony of defeat with a key resignation this week as he continued to fumble his way through the first month of his presidency.

     
  • CNBC Investigates: Gift Card Crime Fueling Opioid Addiction Across The U.S.

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    In the latest installment of CNBC Investigates, CNBC's Contessa Brewer, in an original report, is uncovering how gift card crime is fueling opioid addiction across the U.S. Clips aired yesterday across Business Day Programming.

     
  • The Hollars Review - Heartwarming, A Touching, Winning, Ensemble Performance

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The Hollars, from Sony Picture Classics, presents the story of a middle class American family, with all the rites of passage that brings them to one moment that tests the family's strength, love and the lessons nurtured.

     
  • Spring, if You’re Reading This… Can You Visit Soon

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    As I look outside my window, to see a whole city covered in a blanket of snow, I’m reminded of Bing Crosby, Christmas carols and all things holiday. Yet, the presents under the tree have been opened for some time now, the ornaments gone, and lights properly put away. Don’t get me wrong, I love winter, being from Colorado; I love skiing down the slopes of Breckenridge and walking in my snow-boots to Starbucks. I love everything from the first frost to the last flake falling.

     
  • Election 2020: Beto O’Rourke to Make First Visit to the Golden State

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

     

    Beto O’Rourke will arrive in California on Saturday for his first visit to the state since announcing his candidacy for President of the United States last month. His four-day trip will include events in Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego.

     
  • Traveller to Release New Single “Been Waiting”

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Traveller, the Scottish Pop Rock band, who first came to our attention last summer with their debut EP All This Time, which earned airplay in a massive 68 countries, is set to release Been Waiting, the newest single.  

  • NASA’s InSight Poised on Historical Data Collection

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NASA, has been euphoric since Insight safely landed on the Red Planet 15 Sols ago, Monday, November 26, beginning what will be the most concentrated study of the planet to date.

     
  • The Art Of Discovery - Photographs By WireImage Co-Founder Jeff Vespa

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    LOS ANGELES, Ca. USA -  Jeff Vespa, co-founder of the largest entertainment photo agency in the world, WireImage and founder of Verge, will release his first monograph, The Art of Discovery, this October on Rizzoli International Publications.

     
  • Plug Research Releases the Highly Anticipated Coultrains Jungle Mumbo Jumbo Project

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    On April 23rd, appreciators of soul, jazz & beat music alike rejoice as Coultrain releases his long-awaited new project, Jungle Mumbo Jumbo. Perhaps best known for his work as one half of Hawthorne Headhunters (alongside Black Spade), or as the once lead singer of Waajeed's Platinum Pied Pipers - this release marks Train's first proper solo album on a label

     
  • Blondie and Garbage To Co-Headline Rage And Rapture Summer 2017 Tour (Music/Tix Links)

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Blondie & Garbage announced their North American tour will kick off on July 5th in Saratoga, CA and wrap on August 12th in Dallas, TX. John Doe & Exene Cervenka will provide support on the first leg of the tour and Deap Vally for the second.

     
  • Tennessee Boy Found Guilty in Murder Of Neighbor Girl

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    In a story that has gained international attention, Benjamin Nicolas Tiller, 11, has been found guilty of first degree murder in the shotgun death of his neighbor, MaKayla Dyer, 8, stemming from a dispute that escalated over puppies.

     
  • Mars Rover Makes Two Significant Discoveries

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Mars Rover, the mechanical robotic vehicle designed to drive across the red planet gathering evidence, has recently made two huge discoveries building a solid belief that life, in some form, could have existed on the planet.

     
  • Contemporary Cape Cod Artists Book Review - A Beautiful Display of Conceptual Art

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Contemporary Cape Cod Artists on Abstraction, from Deborah Forman and Schiffer Books, presents forty-five Cape Cod Artists, who provide a varied range of interpretation and application of abstraction, the concept of canvas, and the inspiration that motivates.

     
  • Money News: Bull Markets Continue; American, Europe, Asian Markets Close Up

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The DOW Jones Industrial Average rallied throughout the week, as did the top ten watched markets with nearly all managing to maintain the Bull Run and with the bear out of sight, earned solid gains across the board.