-- NTSB_Newsroom (@NTSB_Newsroom)
My heart goes out to the families of the children that were killed & injured in the school bus crash in
-- Colonel THP (@THP_Colonel)
Thoughts, prayers to victims of tragic school bus crash in
There are no words to comfort the broken heart of a mother or father. As I pray for families affected by tragedy, I ask you to do the same
Devastating news coming out of
She swerved right, but there was nowhere to go.
On the afternoon of
"Luckily, no one got killed," she thought that day. "What's going to happen the next time?"
Two months later, on Monday afternoon, Walker was driving fast on
The bus filled with 37 children toppled to its side, wrapping around a tree. Five
Two hours after Monday's crash, Hamilton received a phone call from a representative for Sedgwick, an insurance company handling her claim with
She found the timing of the call suspect -- just hours after Walker had been involved in another, much more serious crash. On Tuesday, she said she also received a call from a lawyer representing Durham.
"He was shying me away from what happened [in September,]" she said. "I repeatedly told him what happened on that day. He was asking if I was drinking, under any medication, under the influence. I basically told him, 'I can't talk to you.'"
A Durham spokesperson declined an interview Tuesday evening when asked in an email about the lawyer's phone call to Hamilton.
Reneé Cosmé lives across the street from where Walker crashed into Hamilton, and her children rode his bus this school year. She said Walker wasn't supposed to take
She said her children have already complained to her that Walker drove too fast and sometimes out of control. Other people living on
After the crash in September, Hamilton said the company's insurance offered to pay for the damage to her car. Meanwhile, the police department did not cite Walker and he continued working for Durham. The department's incident report does not mention Cosmé's claims: That Walker wasn't supposed to drive on that road, or that he ran a stop sign first.
"It's almost impossible for them to stay on the line," she said. " [Walker] is listed at fault, and we let the insurance companies play it out from there."
Durham's vehicles have been in 346 crashes in the past two years, according to federal figures. Of those, 142 crashes caused injuries and three fatalities. During the same time frame, records show the company had 53 incidents involving "unsafe driving violations."
Local records show Durham has been named in 21 lawsuits in
But Durham records show the company hired another driver in
Applicants are "ineligible" if they have one or more felony or misdemeanor convictions in the last 10 years involving violence, weapons, controlled substances, sex crimes or burglary, according to a record from
Then in 2015, he was arrested and charged with raping a 15-year-old student-passenger in a Super 8 Hotel room. He was employed by Durham at the time.
"I think the Durham employment application for Johnthony Walker may be telling, just as the application in the case of
In a written statement, Durham said the company is devastated by Monday's fatal bus crash.
"We are working with the
Walker earned his commercial driving license in April, according to
At least 10
The investigation is expected to take between 12 and 18 months to complete.
"Our mission is not to just understand what happened, but why it happened," Hart told reporters Tuesday afternoon.
In addition to the five counts of vehicular homicide, Walker faces charges of reckless endangerment and reckless driving, according to his arrest affidavit. Officials said more charges could be added as the investigation continues. He remains in custody on
Police said Walker was cooperative Monday.
Walker's neighbors described him Tuesday as a quiet person, never violent.
"He was just an ordinary guy," said
Cook was not at her house Tuesday afternoon.
Walker lived with his mother for years and would ride a skateboard to and from a job at Amazon, Lewis said.
The fact that Walker was just 24 years old and driving the bus concerns Lewis, who said a young driver does not have much experience behind the wheel.
"They need to do a better job of hiring bus drivers," Lewis said.
Walker is the youngest of four siblings, according to
"I can't say nothing but good things about him," Mathis said. "He was quiet to me and stayed to himself gave me a lot of respect."
Walker graduated from
"[Monday] was the worst day that we have had for Woodmore and for
Kelly addressed reporters with dozens of school officials and elected officials standing behind him. As kids began arriving at school, many in tears, school staff members were quick to greet and support them. Throughout the day, counselors and food were provided for students, their families and the community.
"Those that want to come to school, we are here to reach out and help," Kelly said.
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