DAY 2: Jury deliberations to continue Thursday in the trial of Woodmore bus driver Johnthony Walker
Jurors listened to testimony from 10 witnesses and experts in the case.
UPDATE: Deliberations have started in the Johnthony Walker trial.
Jurors listened to testimony from 10 witnesses and experts in the case, including the man behind the wheel of Bus #366 about what he says happened the day of the crash that killed six children.
"Once I veered to the right and veered back to the left, I figured, I’m back on the road at that point and I’m moving on," Johnthony Walker testified.
Walker explained he was trying to avoid a crash with a white transport van when he lost control and told jurors he answered a phone call through his Bluetooth headphones while in the school's parking lot.
He testified the call lasted about 10 seconds and believed call logs showed a longer duration because no one hung up.
"I was under the assumption that the other caller hung up the phone and that ended both lines," Walker testified.
"How would you have hung up the phone?" Defense attorney Amanda Dunn asked.
"By pressing the button," Walker answered.
"Did you press the button?" Dunn asked.
"No," Walker said.
Walker said he was not using his phone at the time of the crash and wasn't speeding.
He also explained Talley Road became part of his route as students moved during the school year.
"In the morning and the evening, students get taken off or added to a stop on a route and if that student no longer rides your bus, your route changes," Walker testified.
Prosecutors pointed to physical evidence from the crash saying it doesn't match Walker's account of what happened.
It will be the jury's job to decide which side they believe.
Channel 3's Michelle Heron will be in the courtroom for trial and tweeting live updates.
6:15pm - Judge asks jurors if they want to break for say after dinner. They say yes. Judge tells them not to talk about the case or look or watch anything about it. Will be back at 8:45 AM tomorrow.
6:14pm - Jurors are filing in.
6:13pm - Court is back in session. Jurors want to break to go eat.
3:49pm - Judge is talking about making arrangements to get alternate jurors back to Clarksville tonight.
3:48pm - BREAKING: Jury deliberations begin in Johnthony Walker trial.
3:09pm - State is finished. Judge is moving into jury instructions. This is lengthy and part of procedure
3:08pm - PINKTSON: 37 children did not come home safely. 6 went to an internal home.
3:05pm - PINKSTON: Of course he doesn't want you to believe he was driving too fast for Talley Road.
3:04pm - Pinkston is pointing out Walker's testimony about where he phone was after the crash. "In under 5 minutes, someone found his cell phone and gave it to him."
3:01pm - PINKSTON: Mr. Walker said he was responsible for those YAW marks and he was responsible for that speed.
3:00pm - PINKSTON: Two witnesses said he was speeding, Joe Warren did two tests that showed he was speeding, Walker said he was going 35 in a 30. We can all agree that he was speeding.
2:59pm - Pinkston talking about the woman driving behind the bus at the time of the crash. She testified she didn't see another vehicle.
2:58pm - Pinkston points to phone records, "If you choose to accept them, you have to accept them all. Defense is trying to sway you. If you take them for what they're worth, you have to take all of them for what they're worth, you can' pick and choose."
2:57pm - Pinkston points to defense's point not to decide trial on emotion, but says Dunn put up pic of Walker crying because she's playing on jury's emotions. "You can't have it both ways."
2:55pm - Defense is finished with closing arguments. State is back up. This time, DA Neal Pinkston. PINKSTON: Don't abandon your common sense as you start your deliberations.
2:54pm - Dunn explaining reasonable doubt now. Says jurors have to rest easy at night with verdicts. "If you can't be morally certain, then you cannot find guilt. If your mind can't rest easy, you must acquit Mr. Walker."
2:52pm - DUNN: I want to leave you with this thought. It's easy to jump to conclusions. It happened in this case. They jumped to conclusions and made all the facts fit. It's much harder work to look at all the evidence and evaluate it from there.
2:51pm - DUNN: There's no question that veering to the right resulted in the horrible crash. The question is the why. He was avoiding a head on collision.
2:47pm - Dunn is now talking about the videos that investigators used to also calculate Walker's speed. Dunn says the videos aren't continuous, not reliable.
2:46pm - Dunn now turning to YAW marks. Marks on the road from when a vehicle spins.
2:45pm - DUNN: My client was driving a bus with commercial grade tires on it, hard rubber. Very different. The equipment used to do the testing was just wrong.
2:44pm - Dunn mentions "drag factor," which she spent a lot of time talking about yesterday. Says the method Warrant used isn't preferred. If you remember yesterday, Warren testified it wasn't safe to perform the test that way.
2:42pm - DUNN: The methodology used by Officer Warren was wrong.
2:39pm - Dunn points to police lack of interviewing witnesses until a year after crash. "No one seemed to care. Frankly, they still don't care. We should all care how these investigations are being done."
2:37pm - Dunn suggests investigation started after traffic investigators "guessing."
2:36pm - Dunn shows a picture of Walker crying on the scene. Says state showed a picture where you couldn't see his face. "This is why you have to look at all the evidence."
2:34pm - Dunn pointing to Walker's testimony of why route changed, he had 3 children on the bus that had to get off on Talley Road that day.
2:33pm - Dunn points to testimony of woman who was at 4 way stop with Walker. "She didn't say he had the phone up to his ear."
2:32pm - DUNN: The state has not proved that Walker was on the phone. Points to statement that Walker had cell phone in his hand. Points to Walker's testimony that he had Bluetooth headphones.
2:30pm - DUNN: The state put Ms. Nixon on the stand. There's not one reason to disbelieve Ms. Nixon.
2:28pm - DUNN: The state stood up here and told you Mr. Walker was on his cell phone and on his route and drove into a ditch. None of those things have been proven. Not one.
2:28pm - DUNN: You've been asked to listen and evaluate all the evidence. You decide what evidence is credible and what evidence is not. Let's all agree that this was horrible.
2:26pm - State is done with closing arguments. Now it's defense attorney Amanda Dunn's turn. DUNN: Nov. 21, 2016 will forever be remembered as a day of tragedy.
2:25pm - CARRION: On that day, Johnthony Walker prioritized something else over those kids. Whether it was he had somewhere else he had to be or that phone call with Takisha Nixon.
2:24pm - Last charge, jury will decide if Walker was on the phone at the time of the crash.
2:21pm - Carrion is now explaining what jurors have to find for reckless aggravated assault.
2:19pm - CARRION: If there was a white van in his lane, the two would have collided. The evidence doesn't support his story.
2:17pm - Carrion pointing to eyewitness testimony of white van, says even though witness testified seeing it, she testified it was not in Walker's lane.
2:16pm - CARRION: Bulk of eyewitness testimony says there was no white van on the scene.
2:15pm - CARRION: On the scene, there is no physical evidence of a white van or another vehicle being involved. There are no skid marks or track marks, no paint transfer, there's none of that to prove the white van.
2:12pm - Carrion also pointing to Takisha Nixon's testimony about being on the phone with Walker. "Phone record just is what it is."
2:11pm - Carrion points to witness who testified she was behind Walker and said he was going too fast and wasn't slowing down on hills and curves. Points to the video of Walker with his phone in his hand.
2:10pm - Carrion points out investigators determined Walker was going at least 50 MPH on Talley Road. She mentions Walker's testimony of 35. "Those are not the kinds of damages you get going 35 MPH."
2:07pm - Carrion is explaining proof of vehicular homicide.
2:06pm - CARRION: It's time for you to go to the back and decide if Johnthony. Walker is guilty of the 32 charges against him. Lists all the counts. The answer is yes, she says. ?
2:05pm - CARRION: Johnthony Walker chose to be reckless. He chose to speed, not pay attention to the road and be on his phone. Consequences of those choices are that the bus flipped over, skidded off the road, and wrapped around the tree.
2:04pm - CARRION: On Nov. 21, 2016, 37 Woodmore students boarded the school bus excited to go home. That day should have been like any other day. Those kids should have made it home safely. But they didn't.
2:03pm - Prosecutor Crystal Carrion is giving closing arguments for the state.
2:03pm - Four names will be drawn out of an envelope to pick which jurors will serve as alternates.
2:02pm - Court is back in session. Judge says they are including elements of reckless homicide in jury instructions. So that means, the jury has the option of finding Johnthony Walker guilty of that particular lesser charge. Could have other lesser charges too.
11:06am - Walker is finished taking the stand in his own defense. Defense rests. Judge is breaking for 30 minutes to gather instructions. Closing arguments and jury instructions are left. Jury could start deliberating tonight.
11:01am - DEFENSE: Were you speaking to anyone at the time of the crash? WALKER: No.
10:56am - Walker says he had an iPhone 6s. Explaining to the jury what Siri is. Walker says when he was talking to Siri outside the bus, he was trying to instruct her to "Call police." Said he was trying to get her to call her "from time to time." But contact has to be saved in the phone in order for it to workWalker testifies when "Siri wasn't working" to call for help, we went up the front of the bus to help children get out. Saw someone on the side of the bus and told them to call police.
10:52am - DA pointing to video from bus of Walker looking in bus. DA: What were you looking for? WALKER: Probably the phone. DA pointing to call logs, asking why Walker didn't call 911. Walker says he told other people to call 911. Says he made other phone calls later after he came to.
10:51am - DA showing a series of outgoing phone calls from Walker's phone. Calls at 3:25 all the way to 3:33 pm. DA: You want the jury to believe someone found your phone and gave it to you? WALKER: Yes. There were 3-4 officer specifically tasked to me. Walker says when officers asked for his info, he pointed to his phone and says officer picked it up and gave it to him
10:46am - DA shows picture of Walker on the scene with a backpack and phone on top of in front of him. Walker says he doesn't know who's backpack it is. Says that's his phone. Now describing where his phone was in the yard. Walker says didn't have phone again until 30 minutes after the crash, says he made a phone call when he was sitting down after the crash.
10:45am - Walker says after the crash, he pushed the button on his Bluetooth asking Siri to call the cops. Says he didn't know where his phone was. Walker says his phone was outside the bus "in the person's yard." Walker says an officer found Walker's phone. Says "at the time I wasn't thinking about that."
10:44am - DA points out text message Walker got at 3:21 pm. Walker says he doesn't remember getting that text.
10:43am - Defense is now asking about the phone call. "How did you not know who it was?" Walker says, "Because I didn't pick up the phone." Testified about wearing Bluetooth headphones around his neck.
10:42am - Walker says he doesn't remember hitting the driveway or utility pole. Walker says he can't judge how fast the white van was driving toward him.
10:41am - Walker says he performed safety inspection before his PM shift the day of the crash, didn't find any problems with bus. Walker says there was oncoming traffic "a little ways up." Says he doesn't remember driving in the other lane.
10:40am - Walker testifies he was "going 27 or 28" referring to speed limit on Talley Road. Closer to where the crash happened he said he was going 35.
10:40am - Walker says he doesn't remember what time he left Woodmore, time of phone call or time of crash.
10:39am - Walker says he was dropping kids off "right behind Sonic" on Talley Road, which is why he says he was on that road.
10:38am - Walker says he drove M-F, AM shift and PM shift on those days. Says he went the same way everyday, which included Talley Road.
10:37am - Walker says he had a Class B CDL license to drive the bus.
10:36am - Walker's mother just walked out of the courtroom crying. State is cross-examining Walker.
10:35am - Defense is showing picture of Walker sitting down watching rescue efforts on the scene. Looks like he's crying in the pictures
10:34am - Walker says EMTs made him stop helping.
10:33am - Walker's voice is changing as he's trying not to get emotional describing the moments after the crash.
10:32am - Walker says he remembers having to get the kids out.
10:31am - Walker is trying not to get emotional. Says he blacked out. Says legs and arms were stiff. "Coming to, my first thought, turn the ignition off."
10:29am - WALKER: The bus started to pivot. The bus landed on its side, slid and then came to a stop.
10:27am - WALKER: I figured I had gotten out of the way of the vehicle and my route would continue. Once I veered to the right and veered to the left, I'm back on the road at that point. That wasn't the case. The bus started to tilt.
10:25am - I choose to get out of the way to the right to avoid a collision.
10:24am - Walker says, as the driver of a bus, you're expected to watch your surroundings and your students. Talks about training, "When you're trained as a bus driver, you're trained not to panic. I was assuming the driver would get back over in its lane."
10:23am - Defense is showing a picture of a portion of Talley Road, specifically the hill around Sunset. This is part of the scene.
10:21am - Walker describes Talley Road as "really hilly, really curvy, narrow street." Says he applied brakes periodically as going up and down hills.
10:19am - DEFENSE: Were you talking on the phone at the time of the crash? WALKER: No. DEFENSE: Were you utilizing your phone in any way? WALKER: No
10:17am - Walker testifies phone conversation lasted 7-10 seconds max. Says he didn't hang up phone when he was done talking. Thought other person hung up.
10:16am - Walker testifies he told the person on the other end of the phone, he was driving and couldn't talk. Said he had bluetooth earbuds around his neck. Didn't have phone up to his ear to talk.
10:15am - Walker says he received a phone call as he was leaving school. Says bus was stopped and didn't know who was calling him at the time.
10:12am - Walker is explaining how the students would leave school and get on the appropriate bus. Says they were separated by colors so the students knew where to go.
10:10am - On day of crash, got to Woodmore around 2:30 that afternoon after dropping off high school students. Says he would play games on his phone while waiting for kids to get out of school.
10:07am - Said he would get to school around 12:45 for afternoon runs.
10:06am - Walker says Brainerd HS was his first school in the AM. Then went and picked up Woodmore students. He would go home and sleep while kids were in school.
10:05am - Walker says he was on Talley Road because he was letting children off on Talley Road. Says he came to work at least an hour early to check the condition of the bus and make sure it was working properly and safely.
10:04am - Johnthony Walker will take the stand and testify in his own defense.
10:01am - Walker says he understand rights.
9:58am - Walker is being sworn in now. Will decide if he takes the stand in his own defense.
9:35am - Judge is giving Walker's attorney documents to fill out deciding if Walker will testify. Wants them to make a decision during break.
9:32am - Judge denies motion for acquittal.
9:30am - Judge says witness testimony supports the charges.
9:28am - Defense says there's too much of a question of what caused the crash. Points out problems with the way the case was investigated.
9:26am - Defense says state didn't meet burden for all of the counts.
9:25am - Defense motions for acquittal.
9:24am - State rests in the Johnthony Walker trail.
9:11am - Clepper says there was a bend in the frame of the bus where it had crashed, but didn't find any other problems that weren't related to the crash.
9:08am - Clepper says he tested various things on the bus, the wheels, the brakes, etc. Didn't find any leaks or problems.
9:06am - Tennessee Highway Patrol Trooper Wade Clepper is on the stand. He investigated bus 366 after the crash.
9:04am - Jury is back in. There aren't as many people in the gallery today compared to yesterday.
9:03am - State says they have two witnesses left to call before resting.