It’s been a week since the fatal school bus crash that left the community staggered.
The crash claimed six lives and sent 12 other children to the hospital.
The mother of a child injured in the crash has filed a lawsuitagainst the vehicle’s driver and Durham School Services, the company that contracts buses for Hamilton County.
The driver had no signs of alcohol or drugs in his system, the Chattanooga Police Department said, citing blood tests.
JohnthonyWalker, 24, has a bond of$107,500 after authorities charged him with five counts of vehicular homicide, reckless endangerment and reckless driving. He’s slated to be in court Nov. 29.
Here’s the latest on the situation.
As of Nov. 26,Children’s Hospital at Erlanger had three pediatric patients listed in critical condition and two children in fair condition recovering in patient rooms.
Thirty-seven students were on the Woodmore Elementary School bus when it crashed into a tree and flipped on its side in a Brainerd-area neighborhood at 3:25 p.m.
Twenty students were treated and released after the crash.
The one-vehicle incident at 313 Talley Road required reaction from an array of first responders and law enforcement agencies, and attracted national news attention.
The Durham School ServicesCEO David Duke released a video statement about the tragedy.
Durham leaders also said they would support the victims’ families.
Duke sent the following letter to Hamilton County Superintendent Kirk Kelly:
Dear Dr. Kelly,
As we discussed earlier this week, Durham would like to provide support to the families impacted by thetragic accident that occurred on Monday. In the midst of this time of intense grief, we will cover thefollowing expenses:
- Funeral expenses;
- Family member travel-related expenses to attend the funeral;
- Counseling for family members, parents and members of the Woodmore Elementary Schoolstaff;
- Hospital expenses for students involved in the crash, and
- Medical expenses related to the crash for up to six months from the date of release from thehospital.
Our entire team is devastated by this accident and shares in your and your community’s pain. We arejust as anxious as you are to figure out what happened, and while we are working with investigators,please know that we are keenly aware that many are suffering. It is our hope that this offer of supportprovides a small level of comfort. Please feel free to contact me at any time.
David A. Duke
The foundation will be working in partnership with United Way of Greater Chattanooga to make sure these funds are dispersed effectively and efficiently, Hamilton County School System spokeswoman Amy Katcher said.
As of Nov. 26,United Way had about $118,000 in the fund, with about $5,500 in donations pending and unconfirmed.
US 101 held a fundraiser at Hamilton Place Mall Nov. 25 and raised $2,000, which is included in the number.
According to United Way:
Many other organizations have raised money for the fund or are in the process of holding fundraisers, but we won’t include those dollars until they’re in hand and have been properly counted. In the meantime, more funds will be needed to meet the ongoing needs of this community moving forward. We are deeply grateful to everyone-from individuals to organizations, schools and businesses-who have contributed to help our community in its time of need.We are committed to engaging leadership in the Woodmore community to help guide this process and make decisions. One hundred percent of donated funds will be used to provide support to those affected byMonday’s tragic accident.
Officials said they have been getting a lot of questions about wherecommunity members can drop off donations.
Starting Monday at 8 a.m., New Monumental Baptist Church will be taking donations of food, drink, clothing, toys and other items. Church leaders will distribute the items. Monetary donations should continue to be made to The Woodmore Fund, officials said.
New Monumental is located at 901 Woodmore Lane.
Also on Nov. 29, area restaurantsBluewater Grille and both locations of Big River Grille & Brewing Works will donate 10 percent of sales directly to families of the crash’s victims.
The driver, the complaints
According to records, there had been an array of complaints against Walker before the crash.
The CPD is conducting a criminal investigation while the National Transportation Safety Board is conducting an administrative investigation. Click hereand here for more background.
– NTSB_Newsroom (@NTSB_Newsroom) November 26, 2016