A former school bus driver in Tennessee was found guilty Thursday of causing the crash that killed six children.
A Chattanooga court convicted Johnthony Walker, 25, of six counts of criminally negligent homicide in connection with the November 21, 2016, accident that killed Zoie Nash, 9; D’Myunn Brown, 6; Cordayja Jones, 9; Keonte Wilson, 8; Zyaira Mateen, 6; and Zyanna Harris, 10 (pictured left to right, top to bottom). The children were all students at Woodmore Elementary.
Prosecutors claimed that Walker was driving at 50 mph and was on his phone when the bus veered off the road, hit a pole, and collided with a tree, according to the Chattanooga Times Free Press.
Thirty-seven children were aboard the bus at the time. According to CBS News, Walker testified Wednesday that he was traveling at 35 mph when he approached a curve and was met with another vehicle in his lane. He also denied being on his cellphone at the time of the accident.
However, Chattanooga police officer Joe Warren testified that there was no evidence that a second vehicle went into Walker’s lane.
Jasmine Mateen, whose 6-year-old daughter died in the wreck, previously told CBS News that one of her two children who survived the crash revealed that Walker asked the kids if they wanted to die moments before the wreck.
“My daughter said right before the bus flipped that he was speeding around the curve and asked them ‘Are y’all ready to die,'” Mateen told the network in 2016.
The Times Free Press reported that Walker was also convicted of 11 counts of reckless aggravated assault, seven counts of assault, and one count each of reckless endangerment, reckless driving, and using his phone.
Sentencing is scheduled for April 24.
[Featured Image: Johnthony Walker/Chattanooga Police Department; Zoie Nash, D’Myunn Brown, Cordayja Jones, Keonte Wilson, Zyaira Mateen, and Zyanna Harris/WKRN video screengrab]