Judge Sends School Bus Crash Case To Grand Jury

Posted at 9:19 AM, Dec 15, 2016

A judge has sent a grand jury the case of 24-year-old driver in a school bus crash that killed six children.

Hamilton County General Sessions Judge Lila Statom found probable cause for formal charges Thursday after a hearing that lasted about an hour and a half for Johnthony Walker, who appeared in court in a red jail jumpsuit.

Police charged Walker on five counts of vehicular homicide, reckless driving and reckless endangerment. A sixth vehicular homicide charge will be added for the child who died days later in the hospital.

Police said Walker was using a cellphone before the crash. His lawyer, Amanda Dunn, questioned Chattanooga traffic officer Joe Warren about that. The officer acknowledged that a camera inside the bus showed Walker using his phone while the bus was stopped, and that the phone then went out of view.

Dunn has said she expects Walker to plead not guilty if indicted. She told the judge there's evidence yet to be submitted that suggests differing versions of what happened.