Mother, grandmother file lawsuit against Hamilton County Schools for 2016 Woodmore bus crash
A mother and a grandmother have filed a lawsuit against the Hamilton County Board of Education in the 2016 Woodmore bus crash that claimed the lives of six students and injured nearly two dozen students.
The driver of the bus, Johnthony Walker was sentenced to four years in prison for causing the crash. In a separate incident, Walker was indicted by a Davidson County Grand Jury on eight counts of aggravated statutory rape and one count of sexual exploitation of a minor.
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Walker was found guilty of 11 counts of reckless aggravated assault, seven counts of assault, one count of reckless driving, one count of reckless endangerment, and one count of use of a portable device.
The lawsuit alleges that the contract between the school system and Durham School Services required the bus service provider to "purchase and equip its school buses with digital cameras and radios" and "the school buses to be equipped with GPS technology that “...enables staff to monitor the path and speed of a bus.""
"Since Walker began transporting Defendant’s students, the Zonar global positioning system documented that Walker regularly and routinely exceeded the posted speed limit while transporting students," one point in the lawsuit states.
Complaints from students and parents note how Walker is accused of driving the bus. One student’s complaint, submitted to Woodmore Elementary School on November 16, 2016, included this statement:
"The bus driver drives fast. It feels like the bus is going to flip over....He makes people go seat to seat back and forth, when someone is in the aisle he stops the bus and makes people hit their heads."
Another complaint from a student submitted the same day said:
"The bus driver was doing sharp turns and he made me fly over to the next seat. We need seat belts."
The 27-page complaint also makes multiple references to the school system "knowingly" placing children in their care on a bus with a driver who had a list of complaints filed against him, with the knowledge of the "known threat posed by Walker."
Walker was found to be using a cell phone while driving the bus prior to the deadly crash in his 2018 trial.
The lawsuit makes note of a point that was greatly speculated about on social media after the crash, where Walker was reported to have yelled at the bus of children “Are ya’ll ready to die?”
There is no mention of the amount of monetary compensation in the lawsuit, but the plaintiffs have requested a jury trial.