6th Chattanooga school bus crash victim dies

A sixth child died Wednesday night from injuries sustained in a Chattanooga school bus crash, according to police.

The child, whose name was not released, had been in critical condition since the Monday afternoon crash.

Thirty-seven Woodmore Elementary School students boarded their school bus for the trip home Monday afternoon. But within a mile of the school, the speeding driver lost control of the bus, hitting a mailbox, telephone pole and a tree, according to investigators. Five students died in the crash, which temporarily trapped students in mangled wreckage.

The surviving students were taken to Children’s Hospital, where medical staff worked with Woodmore teachers to identify the children, some of whom were too shocked and scared to say their own names. Within two hours of their arrivals, 19 students were treated and released, hospital officials said.

Twelve students were admitted Monday, and six of those were in critical condition, doctors said Tuesday afternoon. By Wednesday morning, six children had been released and one child’s condition improved to stable, the hospital said.

After the crash, bus driver Johnthony K. Walker, 24, was arrested and charged with five counts of vehicular homicide, reckless driving and reckless endangerment, court documents said. Investigators believe he was driving at “a high rate of speed, well above the posted speed limit of 30 miles per hour” at the time of the wreck.

Walker was being held early Wednesday on $107,500 bond, Hamilton County jail records showed. The crash remains under investigation by both Chattanooga police and the National Transportation Safety Board.

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