Woodmore Elementary school bus crash
- Community holds vigil to honor victims of fatal Woodmore school bus crash [photos]
- One year later: Have school buses gotten safer since the Woodmore crash?
- The legislation: Advocates hope to pass school bus seat belt bill in 2018
- The neighbors: Talley Road residents recount details of deadly crash
- Cooper: Woodmore bus crash offered lessons, realities
- A year of grief: Mother recalls tragic day she lost her daughter
- The first responders: Paramedics, police officers recall scene of crash [photos]
- Lawsuit: Woodmore employees say bus company responsible for emotional trauma
- Two more lawsuits point to negligence in deadly Woodmore bus crash
- Three more civil claims filed in Woodmore crash case
- Bus coalition says Durham drivers want to share safety concerns
- American Red Cross of Southeast Tennessee honors local heroes
- Hamilton County 911 receives award for response to Woodmore crash
- School bus driver in deadly Woodmore crash released from jail after making bond
- Trial date set for driver in fatal Woodmore Elementary School bus crash
- Lawsuit: Mother of child who died in Woodmore bus crash was tricked into legal agreement
- Bus driver in deadly Woodmore crash placed on supervised release
- State attorneys receive new information in Woodmore solicitation case
- Chattanooga firefighters recognized with 'Governor's Certificate' for Woodmore response
- Judge denies alternative sentence request for bus driver in deadly Woodmore crash
- Attorney: Second vehicle involved in deadly Woodmore bus crash
- Court date delayed for bus driver charged in Woodmore case
- Victim's mom posts court documents on Facebook, complicating trial in deadly Woodmore bus crash
- Woodmore bus driver faces additional charges after prosecutors pledge to bring more counts
- Prosecutors plan to bring more charges against Woodmore bus driver
- Attorney says Woodmore bus driver should get alternative sentence
- Texas firm denies any solicitation of Woodmore victims
- Woodmore families protest after school board renews bus company contract [photos]
- Out-of-town jurors will decide Johnthony Walker's fate in Woodmore bus crash trial
- Tennessee AG files lawsuit against Texas firm accused of deceiving Woodmore families
- Child Services confirms agency has been investigating Woodmore bus driver
- Woodmore: Johnthony Walker's attorney wants out-of-town jury
- Judge rules Woodmore attorneys can ask for pre-accident info from bus company
- Twelfth civil lawsuit filed in Woodmore bus crash
- New Woodmore lawsuit takes aim at predatory law firms
- New lawsuit accuses law firms of preying on Woodmore victims
- Two more lawsuits filed in connection to fatal Woodmore bus crash
- Law enforcement to follow, randomly ride in Hamilton County school buses in wake of fatal crash
- NTSB report recounts events leading up to fatal Woodmore school bus crash
- Woodmore Fund completes distribution of more than $500,000 in gifts from community to families
- Woodmore responders recount crash nightmare
- Woodmore bus crash: Can county turn back clock on bus privatization?
- Despite Woodmore crash, Hamilton County likely will extend contract with same bus company
- Tennessee's attorney general vows to take on any law firms that exploit the Woodmore crash victims
- Driver in fatal Woodmore school bus crash had previous accidents, infractions in personnel file
- Lawsuit filed against Hamilton County Schools in connection with fatal Woodmore bus crash
- Industry experts warn of predatory law firms in wake of Woodmore bus tragedy
- Woodmore Fund releases video appeal for relief funds ahead of holidays
- Last 2 Woodmore patients released from Erlanger to rehab facility [video]
- Sixth Woodmore bus crash lawsuit targets bus manufacturer]
- Two Woodmore bus crash victims still in Erlanger Children's Hospital
- Woodmore Fund begins to help families affected by fatal bus crash in Chattanooga
- Fourth and fifth lawsuits filed in Woodmore bus crash
- Remaining hospitalized children in Woodmore bus accident in fair condition
- Third lawsuit says bus crash causes child to suffer disfigurement, brain injury
- Durham claims it wasn't aware of all complaints against driver in deadly bus crash [photos]
- Chattanooga school bus driver refuses to speak with investigators in fatal crash probe
- School bus company addresses driver complaints prior to fatal bus crash, promises change [video]
- Second family files negligence lawsuit in connection with deadly bus crash
- Hearing for bus driver in Woodmore crash delayed
- School bus strikes pedestrian in Brainerd one week after deadly Woodmore crash
- Three Woodmore students still in critical condition; 5 total remain hospitalized
- No kids were on school bus that hit pedestrian on Brainerd Road
- Man allegedly using Woodmore victims to scam people for money
- Zyaira Mateen, 6: The girl who loved to read and dance
- D'myunn Brown: Six-year-old remembered as smart, funny
- Zyanna Harris, 10: Girl had energy and spunk
- Cor'Dayja Jones, 9: Fourth-grader was sweet and shy
- Keonte Wilson, 8: Rambunctious boy was youngest of four
- Zoie Nash, 9: She was cheerful and laid-back
- In the wake of the fatal bus crash, Chattanooga stands strong
- Cook: The Hallelujahs of Woodmore Strong
- Tennessee law caps damages for Woodmore victims, families
- Bus driver in fatal crash told school employee 'he did not care about the students,' school records show
- Family of bus crash survivor finds much to be grateful for
- Community gives $112,000 to families of children killed in bus crash
- Parents say they warned district employees before crash that bus driver drove too fast and was reckless
- Life-saving stability control mandatory in new cars but not required for school buses [video]
- A sixth child in Woodmore bus crash has died
- NTSB says Talley Road not on designated route for bus in fatal crash
- First lawsuit filed in connection with Monday's fatal bus crash
- Local agencies launch fund for families of school bus crash victims
- Brainerd crash: New details emerge on history of driver, bus company
- Families mourn Woodmore Elementary students killed in school bus crash
- Tragedy leaves many area first responders emotionally scarred
- Local lawmakers favor push for mandatory seat belts on school buses
- Community gathers at prayer vigil for victims of fatal school bus accident
- Neighbors recount moments following Monday's fatal crash, say driver had reputation for speeding
- Johnthony Walker crashed bus months before fatal accident
- A nation reacts to Monday's school bus crash tragedy
- McCormick to push bill requiring all Tennessee school buses have seat belts
- Haslam says 'time to have that conversation' about school bus safety
- Neighbors of the bus driver charged with vehicular homicide said he was 'just an ordinary guy'
- School bus service provider had 346 crashes in last two years, records show'
- Families identify all five children killed in bus crash
- Community rallies to support Woodmore families
- Blood Assurance needs O-negative blood donations
- School bus driver in fatal accident graduated from Brainerd
- 6 students in ICU after school bus driver charged in crash that killed Woodmore Elementary students
- Erlanger doctors say kids dazed, couldn't spell names on arrival
- Officials report multiple fatalities in school bus crash on Talley Road
A defense attorney for the 25-year-old bus driver accused of killing six children in a crash last year on Talley Road wants to suppress several pieces of potential evidence at Johnthony Walker's upcoming criminal trial.
Those include any jailhouse phone calls Walker made, any mention of two prior vehicular accidents and driving complaints, any autopsy photos of the dead or injured children, and any of the 1,300 pages of cellular data that prosecutors collected from his phone.
"Defendant takes the position that all such testimony of conduct prior to approximately 3:20 p.m. on Nov. 21, 2016, is not relevant," attorney Amanda Dunn wrote in one of the four motions she filed Tuesday.
On that date, prosecutors say, Walker was traveling about 20 mph over the speed limit and never braked while he overcorrected the course of bus 366 on Talley Road in Brainerd. Ultimately, the bus wrapped around a walnut tree, and the impact killed six Woodmore Elementary School children and injured others.
Walker faces 34 charges in connection with the crash, including six counts of vehicular homicide, seven counts of aggravated assault and 18 counts of reckless aggravated assault. He is set for trial Feb. 27 in Hamilton County Criminal Court and will have an out-of-town jury hear his case.
A spokeswoman said Hamilton County District Attorney General Neal Pinkston doesn't plan to file any written responses. Attorneys could address Dunn's motions at Walker's court date this Tuesday.
Dunn's requests aren't too unusual. Prosecutors often try to show autopsy photos to jurors to stress the impact of a crime, and defense attorneys often try to suppress them. Some of the state's assault charges are based on the children's injuries - so photos could help prove their case.
But photos also could inflame the jury's passions and hurt Walker's chances of a fair trial, Dunn said.
"Certainly there is nothing to be added to the trial of this matter by the use of autopsy photos, medical examiner's photographs or injuries, or even photographs of injuries for the surviving victims whose medical records are readily available to the court and to the jury," Dunn wrote.
Walker also faces a charge of use of a portable electronic device on a school bus, which could explain why prosecutors collected 1,300 pages of cellular data from his phone, as Dunn wrote in her motion. Walker had a cellphone out in the bus before the crash, according to court testimony. But not many details have surfaced about when or how Walker used it.
Dunn said nothing on Walker's phone before Nov. 21 is relevant, and that prosecutors downloaded stuff "which significantly predate[s] the accident in question."
One of her requests drew concern from a media law attorney.
Dunn said WSMV Channel 4, a TV station in Nashville, made a public records request for Walker's jailhouse phone calls between Nov. 21 and Oct. 3 - but she doesn't want the audio released.
Dunn said those phone calls are Walker's recorded statements and therefore belong in the state's investigative file. For her rationale, Dunn cited a procedural rule that says only two parties have access to those records in a criminal case: The state and the defendant.
Dunn has used that line of thinking before in Circuit Court, where Walker and his employer, Durham School Services, a corporation that provides much of the county's busing, are fighting several civil lawsuits.
And it's worked.
Because of the protective orders, plaintiffs' attorneys for the crash victims can't view any evidence prosecutors intend to use in their criminal case. The idea is to protect Walker's constitutional right against self-incrimination, but plaintiffs' attorneys have argued that it hampers their ability to make a negligence case due to limited access to evidence.
Robb Harvey, an attorney for the Nashville station, called Dunn's request to have a judge stop a public records request a "prior restraint." That's where government prohibits speech or expression before it can take place.
"We believe that that motion would constitute a prior restraint on news gathering and publication," Harvey said Wednesday, "and that the Criminal Court has no jurisdiction to decide what is essentially a public records request."
Dunn's last motion is to suppress any mention of Walker's driving history as well as complaints about his speeding.
Walker had two collisions in August and September, according to court records. Plus, a witness identified only as J.P. told police Walker was "traveling at a high rate of speed as [the bus] made a left-hand turn near Montview Drive" about 50 minutes before the crash.
"Defendant says this statement is not relevant," Dunn wrote, because it was before the crash. Furthermore, Dunn wrote, "it appears the bus was carrying students from a different school at the time of this alleged speeding event."