Chattanooga bus driver in deadly accident to be replaced with ‘experienced driver’

(source: Chattanooga Fire Department)
(source: Chattanooga Fire Department)

CHATTANOOGA (WATE) – One week after six kids were killed in a bus crash, Woodmore Elementary has announced they are replacing the bus driver that was on the route.

The school said bus 366 was replaced by bus 357. They also said the bus will be driven by an “experienced driver” and a Hamilton County Department of Education staff member will ride on all of their buses for the morning and afternoon routes.

“We continue to grieve with our families who are in the midst of laying their children to rest. Our staff continues to support and pray for the families who still have children in the hospital and for families who have children recovering at home,” said Woodmore Elementary in a statement.

The school said they have counselors in place for students to receive support if they need to talk to anyone. They are also encouraging parents to send students back to school.

“We truly feel that being back at school and in a routine is the best way for students to begin to heal from this terrible tragedy,” said Woodmore Elementary.

Funeral services for Zoi Nash will be held at Hope City Church on Thursday. Her family is asking those attending the service to wear purple, black and gray since those are her softball team’s colors. The funeral for Cor’Dayja Shanyel Jones, 9, was held Saturday.

Johnthony Walker, 24 (Courtesy: Hamilton County Sheriff's Office)
Johnthony Walker, 24 (Courtesy: Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office)

Police charged bus driver Johnthony Walker with vehicular homicide after the crash. Federal authorities say Walker was driving off the designated bus route when he wrecked on a curvy road while carrying 37 children.

Students and administrators had raised concerns the driver’s behavior behind the wheel in the weeks before the crash. Authorities have said they suspect the driver was speeding.

A spokesperson for Children’s Hospital at Erlanger says five children still remain at the hospital, however one child has been updated to fair condition. That makes three listed in critical, two in fair.

More: Chattanooga bus crash

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