Driver in deadly Tenn. school bus crash was on the phone during incident: Prosecutors

The crash killed six children.

— -- The driver in a 2016 school bus crash that left six children dead was allegedly on the phone at the time of the incident, prosecutors with the Hamilton County District Attorney’s office said Tuesday.

Johnthony Walker, 25, was driving a school bus with 37 children on board when he crashed in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Authorities said at the time speed was “strongly” considered as a factor in the November 2016 crash.

During a court appearance on Tuesday, prosecutors said Walker received a phone call at 3:17 p.m., three minutes prior to when the first 911 call came in about the crash. The call to Walker’s phone lasted about four minutes, according to the district attorney’s office.

The district attorney's office also said there is video of Walker on the bus with the children prior to the wreck; however, the video does not show Walker taking the call.

“It’s clear that he was on the phone when the crash happened.” Melydia Clewell of the Hamilton County District Attorney’s Office said. “He did answer the call and the phone line was open.”

Walker faces 34 charges, including six counts of vehicular homicide. He was released on bond earlier this year. His trial is scheduled for Feb. 27. Walker has pleaded not guilty.

The National Transportation Safety Board is still investigating the incident.