LISTEN LIVE KPR - On Air: Listen Live to classical, jazz and NPR news Schedule LATEST
KPR 2 - On Air: Listen live to KPR's all talk-radio service, KPR2 Recordings

Share this page              

Bus Driver Convicted Of Negligent Homicide In Crash That Killed 6 Children

Rescuers work on the scene of a school bus crash in November 2016 in Chattanooga, Tenn. School bus driver Johnthony Walker was convicted Thursday of negligent homicide and other charges in the crash, which killed six children.

A Tennessee jury found the driver of a school bus guilty of six counts of negligent homicide in a November 2016 crash that killed six children on their way to elementary school.

Prosecutors argued that the driver, Johnthony Walker, was talking on his cell phone and driving 50 mph in a 30 mph zone when he crashed the bus into a walnut tree, flipping it onto its side. Two dozen children were also injured.

Walker, 25, also was found guilty of 11 counts of reckless aggravated assault and seven counts of assault, as well as reckless driving, reckless endangerment, and use of a portable device by a school bus driver, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reports.

On the stand, Walker said he was driving 35 miles an hour when he crashed, and his attorney said he wasn't talking on the phone at the time.

"The jury worked hard, and we're pleased with the verdict," Hamilton County District Attorney-General Neal Pinkston told the newspaper. "We knew going into it that there were difficulties that would arise, like there are in any trial."

But the mother of one of the crash victims described a mix of feelings.

"At the end of the day, Johnthony Walker drove for a company, and they are to be held accountable," Diamound Brown told the Times Free Press. "I'm coming for Durham School Services. They're responsible for not pulling him off the bus a long time ago."

That's the Illinois-based company that provides most of the Hamilton County's buses and drivers. About 30 personal-injury lawsuits have been filed against Durham, according to the newspaper.

The jurors were selected from Clarksville, a city in north Tennessee, after attorneys agreed that media coverage of the crash likely would influence the Chattanooga jury pool.

Walker's sentencing is scheduled for April 24.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit

Tower Frequencies

91.5 FM KANU Lawrence, Topeka, Kansas City
96.1 FM K241AR Lawrence (KPR2)
89.7 FM KANH Emporia
99.5 FM K258BT Manhattan
97.9 FM K250AY Manhattan (KPR2)
91.3 FM  KANV Junction City, Olsburg
89.9 FM K210CR Atchison
90.3 FM KANQ Chanute

See the Coverage Map for more details

Contact Us

Kansas Public Radio
1120 West 11th Street
Lawrence, KS 66044
Download Map
785-864-4530 (Main Line)
888-577-5268 (Toll Free)