Three more civil claims filed in Woodmore Elementary fatal crash case

Staff Photo by Dan Henry / The Chattanooga Times Free Press- 11/29/16. Johnthony Walker, the bus driver charged in the school bus crash on Talley Road that left six children dead and others injured on November 21, makes his first appearance in Judge Lila Statom's courtroom on Tuesday, November 29, 2016.

Lawsuits filed Thursday in the name of three more Woodmore Elementary School students claim the bus company and driver involved in the deadly 2016 crash were "grossly negligent."

Attorneys Ronnie Berke and Hassan Murphy reminded the public that any other civil lawsuits must be filed before Nov. 21, the one-year anniversary of the Talley Road crash.

Most criminal and civil offenses have a time limit in which a person can file a complaint.

Thursday's lawsuits accuse Durham School Services of negligence for employing Johnthony Walker after receiving complaints about his driving. Durham is the contractor that provides the majority of the county's transportation.

The corporation is currently facing about 20 wrongful death or negligence suits in local state and federal courts for Walker's crash on Talley Road that killed six Woodmore Elementary children and injured numerous others.

In addition to the civil suits, Walker faces criminal charges related to nearly every one of the 37 children onboard the bus, including six counts of vehicular homicide. His next court date is Dec. 19 and he remains out of jail on a reduced $50,000 bond.

Thursday's suits come from three children who experienced broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, other psychological pain, and suffering and medical bills.

"He lost the enjoyment of life, and lost earning capacity," Berke wrote of one child. "His injuries are permanent and the damages will continue for his lifetime."

Between all three lawsuits, the attorneys are asking for at least $22.5 million in damages.

Contact staff writer Zack Peterson at or 423-757-6347. Follow him on Twitter @zackpeterson918.

Woodmore Elementary school bus crash