It’s devastating for any parent to bury their child, but the heartbreak is intensified when that child is lost around the holiday season. The tragic school bus crash that rocked the middle Tennessee city of Chattanooga on Monday afternoon has delivered yet another blow, as a sixth child has died from injuries received in this devastating accident, according to Nashville’s Tennessean.
No specific details have been released about this most recent passing; however, the investigation has uncovered that neither drugs nor alcohol were found in the 24-year-old bus driver’s system. What has been discovered, though, is that the site where the accident took place was not on the bus’s designated route, raising more questions and suspicions with investigators.
Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam spoke to teachers at Woodmore Elementary School about the tragedy and said he would review safety protocol to “make certain that we don’t have one more of these.”
Bus driver Johnthony Walker is being charged with at least five counts of vehicular manslaughter, with a sixth count expected to be added. Witnesses are telling local media outlets that there had been multiple complaints of the driver speeding on the job. It is confirmed that he was speeding when the bus veered off of Talley Road and slammed into a utility pole and wrapped around a tree.
Walker was not an employee of the school system, but of a private transportation service. He had previously been involved in another bus crash in September.
Five students remain in the hospital. Their conditions are unknown.
Our thoughts and prayers join the rest of America’s as we hold those families close to our hearts and in our minds this holiday season.