As kids in Chatanooga, Tenessee got on the same yellow school bus to go home that they take each and everyday, they has no idea that some of their peers would never make it open for the Thanksgiving holiday break. The driver crashed the bus into a tree, killing 5 children and injuring 23 others. His family claims it was a mere accident until his last 5 words were revealed.
Johnthony Walker, 24, has been taking children from Woodmore Elementary school for months, much to one mother’s frustration. Jasmine Mateen has three children that has rode with him each day and was scared of him and for good reason. One of Mateen’s children passed away on Monday in the rollover crash, and the fate of the other two still has yet to be determined. However, the driver isn’t the only one to blame — the school district is too — both for deeply disturbing reasons.
As children in Chatanooga, Tenessee boarded the same yellow school bus to go home that they’ve taken all year, they had no clue that some of their classmates wouldn’t make it off the bus for Thanksgiving break. The driver wrapped the ride around a tree, killing five and injuring 23, in what his family claims was an accident until his final five words were found out.
Johnthony Walker, 24, has been transporting children from Woodmore Elementary school for months, much to one mother’s frustration. Jasmine Mateen has three kids that rode with him every day and were terrified of him for good reason. One of Mateen’s children died on Monday in the rollover crash, and the fate of the other two still has yet to be determined. However, the driver isn’t the only one to blame — the school district is too — both for deeply disturbing reasons.
The mourning mother-of-three told NBC News that she has been “calling complaining about this bus driver since August,” after her children shared some troublesome information about the driver. Mateen said that when her sincere concerns went ignored to both the Board of Education and the school, she wrote a letter to document her complaints, which was reportedly read aloud to Walker in front of his young passengers.
Mateen’s children said he constantly slammed on the breaks so they would hit their heads, drove too fast, and was always drinking and swearing at them. However, it’s the five words he said in the end that will haunt the families and school district forever, each for different reasons.
According to Mateen, the “principal read the letter to the bus driver two weeks ago,” which Walker responded to by saying, “So, I’d do it again.” He did continue with his dangerous driving, including on Monday when he was racing through the neighborhood and shouted to the terrified children, “Are y’all ready to die?” one of Mateen’s surviving children told her. Seconds later, the bus rolled and killed Mateen’s 6-year-old daughter on the scene, along with four others, and injured 23 more children.
Despite months of ignored complaints and continued behavior, Walker’s family insists he’s innocent and a responsible father, who called her immediately after the wreck to say he’s been in a “drastic accident.” Considering the history and his five-word statement before killing the kids, it’s far from an accident and could have been avoided had the school done something about the driver they employed. What’s worse is that the district had proof that Mateen wasn’t making things up since Walker had been involved in an accident in his school bus in September, but was still allowed behind the wheel with kids in tow, the Tennessean reported.
The lack of drivers or funds for them shouldn’t trump a child’s safety, especially when so much proof of concern was available. The district had been warned for months, and now, their employee has been charged with five counts of vehicular homicide after five innocent lives were lost, which could have been spared had someone listened to their cries for help.