The driver behind the wheel of a Tennessee school bus that crashed and killed five children asked the kids if they were “ready to die” as he sped along a Chattanooga road, according to a report.
A mom who had three students aboard the bus — one of whom died — told CBS News that Johnthony Walker asked the chilling question seconds before the yellow bus slammed into a telephone pole and a tree.
Walker, 24, was well above the 30-mph speed limit while driving 35 students home from the Woodmore Elementary School on Monday — crashing on a narrow road about a mile from the school, Police Chief Fred Fletcher said.
One student aboard the bus told WDEF-TV that the driver “wasn’t paying attention and was going real fast.”
Walker was charged with five counts of vehicular homicide, reckless endangerment and reckless driving. He was held on $107,500 bond.
Bus Driver Charged and in Custody
According to police, Johnthony Walker, 24, was driving the bus that crashed and is facing charges for vehicular homicide, reckless driving and reckless endangerment. Police allege he was speeding before losing control of the vehicle.
Walker remains in custody and as of Monday morning had not entered a plea or retained an attorney. He is cooperating with investigators, according to multiple reports.
Walker’s mother, Gwenevere Cook, told CNN the crash was “a horrible nightmare.”
“I feel bad for my son,” said Cook, who could not immediately be reached. “And I am torn up for the [victims’] family members.”