Family Of School Bus Driver Charged In Chattanooga Fatal Wreck Speaks Out

Posted at 5:42 PM, Nov 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-22 19:35:45-05

As investigators in Chattanooga continued to sift through the school bus wreck that claimed at least five young lives, the bus driver sat in jail, and his cousin talked to NewsChannel 5, saying the crash was nothing more than an accident.

"It hurts to see that. It's not fun. Nobody wakes up in the morning and says I'm going to go to wreck a bus and kill kids. That's not his heart," said Jeremy Fant said his first cousin Johnthony Walker's heart was broken.

"Can you imagine the trauma, the guilt and the shame that he's feeling," said Fant.

Walker was charged with vehicular homicide after the school bus he was driving wrecked in Chattanooga Monday killing five elementary school students.

Fant said his cousin was found covered in blood at the scene from trying to rescue the kids.

"He wanted to get some of them off the bus, but the scene was too violent," said Fant.

Investigators said Walker was speeding at the time of the wreck.

"It could be a possibility. That's what they kept saying," said Fant.

Was Walker driving under the influence? He's been tested, and results are pending.

Fant, who said he grew up with Walker, said his cousin doesn't drink or use drugs.

"Absolutely not. I'm confident to say no," said Fant.

He said Walker told him it was an accident.

"It was an accident. It was a misjudgment," said Fant.

It's something that's now devastated so many families. "My heart and our heart goes out to those families who lost those babies. I promise you," said Fant.

Walker was booked into jail on a more than $100,000 bond.

He faces felony charges. Fant said his cousin was behind the wheel of that school bus when something happened that led to the death of five children, children Walker had come to know and care about during the school year.

"There's no punishment worse than that. He has to live with that every day of his life," said Fant.

Authorities have said Walker appears to have no criminal record in Tennessee.