Superintendent: 5 students killed in Chattanooga school bus crash – The Tennessean
The driver of a school bus that was filled with elementary students when it crashed in Chattanooga, killing at least five children, has been arrested and faces charges including vehicular homicide. Johnthony Walker was arrested on Monday. (Nov. 22)
Multiple children were killed and dozens were sent to the hospital in a school bus crash in Chattanooga, Tenn.
Multiple people were killed Monday when a Chattanooga school bus with 35 young children aboard crashed, turned on its side and wrapped around a tree, police said. (Nov. 21)
Here is a look at the deadliest bus crashes in United States history.
Some of the most deadly crashes in the U.S. have involved buses. Here are a few notable crashes through the years.
Police say six people are dead after a school bus and a commuter bus crashed in southwest Baltimore. Baltimore Police said that no children were aboard the school bus that crashed early Tuesday morning. (Nov. 1)
Just 24 hours beforeÂ Thanksgiving break, aÂ bus carrying 35 children crashed into a tree in Chattanooga on Monday, killing at least five elementary school children and hospitalizing two dozen others, authorities said.
Rescue crews worked for hours to free children from the bus. Two bloodied students were on stretchers in a nearby front yard, and others walked away clutching their parentsâ hands,Â theÂ Chattanooga Times Free PressÂ reported. Meanwhile, the twisted wreckage of the bus â nearly torn in two and wrapped around a tree off Talley Road in the Brainerd area âÂ remained in place Monday night as investigators began piecing together what happened.
Hamilton County Superintendent Kirk Kelly confirmed Tuesday morning that five studentsâÂ three 4thÂ graders, a kindergartner and a first grader â were killed in the crash. 12 children remainÂ hospitalized.
Of those hospitalized, sixÂ remainedÂ in intensive care, KellyÂ said. The remaining 20 students, he said, were home with their families.
“It’s the toughest thing you will ever do in your life,” Kelly told reporters outside the schoolÂ Tuesday. “Our hearts go out with the families.”
Police arrested the 24-year-old driver, Johnthony Walker, and are charging him with five counts of vehicular homicide, reckless endangerment and reckless driving, according to police. Chattanooga Police Chief Fred Fletcher said there may be additional charges later.
“Our hearts go out …Â to the families, the neighborhood, the school, for all the people involved in this,” Fletcher said at an afternoon news conference.Â “We assure you we are doing everything we can.”
Hamilton County District Attorney Neal Pinkston initially told reporters that five people died at the scene and one died at the hospital. Â Chattanooga police confirmed at least five fatalities shortly before 11 p.m. CSTÂ on Monday. At leastÂ 23 children in kindergarten through fifth grade wereÂ taken to Chattanooga’s Erlanger hospital and one to another facility,Â Fletcher said.
Officers were still working to reunite some children with their families late Monday night.
Gov. Bill Haslam called the crash a âtragic event.â He said Mondayâs crash and last weekâs in Nashville that injured nearly two dozen high school students could lead to additional talks about improving bus safety.
âTo me itâs a good discussion to have,â Haslam said. âI think when this is over itâs time to have a good conversation about everything around school buses.â
Fletcher said early reports from investigators indicate the bus hit a utility pole before flipping over and wrapping around a tree.
“Certainly speed is being investigated very, very strongly as a factor in this crash,” Fletcher said.
Police haveÂ issued a warrant to remove the black box from the bus and review the video evidence.
Fletcher said there were no obvious roadway conditions that appeared to have led to the crash and that police are still investigating whether alcohol played a role. Police saidÂ theÂ bus driver is cooperating with authorities.
The National Transportation Safety Board said Monday night that it also will be investigating the crash.
Word of the crash spread quickly.Â Images posted on social media showed Hamilton County Schools interim Superintendent Kirk Kelly racing to the scene of the crash. The bus was carrying students from Woodmore Elementary School. Kelly said schools would be open Tuesday and Woodmore will have guidance counselors and other support available for students and staff, according to the Chattanooga Times Free Press.
“This has been a great tragedy for us,” Kelly said, according to the Times Free Press.Â “We have suffered a great loss today … one of the worst days we’ve had in our school community.”
Fletcher said heÂ received calls from several organizationsÂ offering to provide resources to law enforcement and to the families of the victims.
Blood donors rushed toÂ Blood AssuranceÂ in downtown Chattanooga, where marketing coordinator Mindy Quinn said there was a line out the door.
While multiple Blood Assurance locations stayed open late until 7 p.m. ETÂ Monday, Quinn asked those who would still like to donate blood for the injured children to come in on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.
“This is something where we’re going to have a need past this evening,” Quinn said.
Monday’s school bus accident is the secondÂ in Tennessee in recent days involving dozens of students.
Nearly two dozen Chester CountyÂ Beta Club high school students on their way to a convention at Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in NashvilleÂ wereÂ injured FridayÂ after their bus flippedÂ on Interstate 65.
In that crash, three students had critical injuries, according to Brian Haas, spokesman for the Nashville Fire Department. Two of the most serious injuries were to arms of students in the bus. The third was a student who suffered a broken collarbone, Haas said.
None of the injuries were life threatening, he said.
Natalie Neysa Alund, Joel Ebert, Michael Patrick and the Associated Press also contributed to this report.