WARRENVILLE, Ill. (WATE) – The bus company involved in Monday’s deadly school bus crash in Chattanooga told WTVC-TV Wednesday evening it would pay for all the children’s funerals.
Durham School Services has a record of 142 crashes in the past two years, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
Five elementary school children were killed in the crash and nearly two dozen were sent to the hospital. The driver, Johnthony Walker, 24, has been arrested on charges of vehicular homicide, reckless endangerment and reckless driving. The National Transportation Safety Board said he had only had his commercial driver’s license since April.
In Tennessee alone, prior to Monday’s crash, Durham School Services buses have been involved in 34 crashes during that time with one fatality. Memphis TV station WREG reports the one fatality crash occurred on September 7. A car hit a charter school bus and then a utility pole. The driver of the car died. There were no children on the bus.
In a video statement released Wednesday, the company’s CEO David A. Duke said:
“I’ve really struggled to get my mind around what has happened here in Chattanooga. I’ve struggled with what to say. I am a father and a grandfather.”
Seventeen of those crashes in Tennessee involved one or more injuries and a total of 37 people were injured. Nevertheless, the company has a rating of “satisfactory.”
The company also operates motor coaches, which are included in the crash figures.
Durham says it is working with Chattanooga police and the school district regarding Monday’s crash, releasing a statement on the company’s website saying:
Our entire team at Durham School Services is devastated by the accident yesterday that tragically claimed the lives of Chattanooga students. We are working with Chattanooga Police Department and Hamilton County School District to investigate. We also have additional team members arriving in Chattanooga today to provide support. We have offered to provide counseling to students and families of Hamilton County, as well as our employees. We will provide all further updates in coordination with the Chattanooga Police Department and the District.