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Five Children Killed, 30+ Injured in School Bus Crash in Chattanooga

school bus flipped on side after crash

According to NBC News, a school bus driver faces several charges after crashing a school bus into a tree, killing five children and causing injury to more than 30 others in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on Monday afternoon.

Immediate Cause of Crash Unknown

Officials say the fatal school bus crash occurred on Talley Road not far from Woodmore Elementary school at around 3:00 p.m. local time. The driver drove the bus off the road and collided with a tree, where the bus flipped onto its side and split in half.

The bus was on its route to drop kids off from school for the evening, carrying children from kindergarten to fifth grade.

NBC News reports that five children died from injuries sustained in the horrific wreck. Twenty-three students received treatment at area hospitals, with six of them remaining in the intensive care unit. Many of the children were able to be released following treatment.

Police arrested and charged the bus driver, 24-year-old Johnthony Walker, with five counts of vehicular homicide, reckless endangerment, and reckless driving. According to NBC News, it is currently unknown what caused the crash, but investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board are reviewing evidence from the scene.

Walker is cooperating with police as the criminal investigation is ongoing. Investigators are looking at data recorders and video footage from the bus for more information on how the wreck occurred. According to NBC News, speed and alcohol are being treated as potential causes of the accident.

School-Transportation Related Crash Statistics

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), between 2004 and 2013, there were 340,039 fatal motor vehicle traffic crashes. Of those, 1,214 (0.4%) were classified as school-transportation-related crashes. Here are more facts about these types of crashes:

  • From 2004 to 2013, there were 1,344 people killed in school-transportation-related crashes – an average of 134 fatalities per year.
  • Of the 1,344 fatalities, only 8 percent were occupants of school transportation vehicles crashes.
    • Most (71%) of the people who lost their lives in these crashes were occupants of other vehicles involved in the crashes.
    • Nonoccupants, including pedestrians, bicyclists, etc., accounted for 21 percent of the fatalities.
  • Among the 106 occupants killed in school transportation vehicles between 2004 and 2013, 45 were drivers and 61 were passengers.

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