Tragic Chattanooga Bus Accident Potential Criminal Charges

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Criminal charges have been announced in response to the tragic Chattanooga school bus accident that happened Monday, November 21, 2016, in Chattanooga, Tennessee. “Reckless driving can happen at any speed, even below the posted speed limit, if road conditions require it,” says criminal defense attorney Darren Kavinoky.
According to a CNN report, the Chattanooga bus driver Johnthony Walker “has been charged with five counts of vehicular homicide, reckless endangerment and reckless driving.” 5 children have been reported killed and “and six others are hospitalized in an intensive care unit.” [1] [Read more about the story here.]
The Chattanooga Police Department confirmed the arrest and the charges in a Tweet issued today (see above) that says, Johnthony Walker, the bus driver, is 24 years of age. You can watch the Chattanooga Chief Fletcher explain the accident live on Periscope below, calling the accident, “every public safety professional’s worst nightmare.”


Potential Criminal Charges

CBS Local in Detroit reports that a mother who had three of her own kids on the bus, one that was killed in the crash, told CBS News Correspondent Mark Strassmann that the bus driver asked the children moments before a question along the lines of, “Are you all ready to die?” moments before the bus impacted. [2]
If this reported question of the children is confirmed and verified, according to Darren Kavinoky, founding attorney of 1.800.NoCuffs, “That would support first-degree murder charges since it is suggestive of premeditation and deliberation. It’s worth noting that premeditation and deliberation can happen in a moment.”
Kavinoky adds, “Premeditation and deliberation do not mean that somebody has planned out a crime for an extended period of time necessarily. It simply means that the accused had time to reflect on his or her actions. This can truly happen in a moment. This is an area where criminal prosecutor have a massive amount of discretion, a good criminal defense lawyer is worth his or her weight in gold.”

1. Madison Park, Catherine E. Shoichet and Mayra Cuevas. November 22, 2016. CNN. “Chattanooga school bus crash: Speeding driver swerved off road, affidavit says.” Retrieved via

2. CBS Local Detroit. November 22, 2016. “Report: Driver Asked Kids ‘Are You Ready To Die’ Before Crashing Bus In Chattanooga.” Retrieved via

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Criminal Defense attorney Darren Kavinoky is the founding attorney of 1.800.NoCuffs. The California law firm has decades of experience fighting DUI cases.