The 24-year-old man who faces six counts of vehicular homicide in connection with the fatal bus crash on Talley Road has hired a private attorney and will return to court in two weeks.
Johnthony Walker made his first appearance today in Hamilton County General Sessions Court beside defense attorney Amanda Dunn. Per agreement with District Attorney General Neal Pinkston, his preliminary hearing was delayed until Dec. 15.
At his next court date, Walker can call witnesses and test the state's evidence. After listening to the proof, General Sessions Court Judge Lila Statom will then decide whether there's enough "probable cause" to send his charges to the grand jury.
After the brief appearance, Dunn reminded everyone that Walker is still an innocent man until found guilty and sent her prayers to the community at large.
"Obviously this has been a devastating tragedy for the Chattanooga community. There are families in mourning. There are families who are still dealing with loved ones," Dunn said. "Mr. Walker's family is also devastated by this tragedy. Mr. Walker is devastated. As he sits in jail right now, Mr. Walker is an innocent man. He will remain so until proven guilty. So our prayers go out to the entire community."
Police said Walker was driving fast, lost control of his school bus, and struck a telephone pole and tree on Talley Road last Monday. The bus toppled and twisted, and the collision killed six children. Several more were wounded in the crash, police said.
Walker, who was arrested after the crash, faces six counts of vehicular homicide and one count each of reckless driving and reckless endangerment.
This is a developing story. Follow along for more updates.