Chattanooga Fire Dept via Reuters
Witnesses told police the driver appeared to be going faster than the posted 30 mph speed limit, which authorities said was lower on bends in the road.
Walker has been charged with five counts of vehicular homicide, reckless endangerment and reckless driving, authorities said.
Walker’s mom, Gwenevere Cook, asked for understanding and said the accident had been “God’s will.”
She said the driver, who had been in the job since August, also had a three-year-old son.
“Try a lot of love, compassion and understanding,” she told WRCB’s Cameron Taylor. “I pray we all can just … get this some way without judging my son. God don’t make mistakes. We do.
“My heart of love is going out to all that were in harm’s way in this horrible accident of God’s will.”
It took emergency crews more than two hours to extract the students off the bus.
Doctors and nurses described a scene of confusion at the Children’s Hospital at Erlanger, with dozens of injured students arriving in their matching school uniforms, without parents, many in shock or otherwise unable to share key information.
Asked what their parents’ names were, some simply said, “Mama,” Darvey Koller, a pediatric emergency room physician, said in a news conference.
Six children remained hospitalized in critical condition Tuesday, and another six were in stable condition, Koller said.
Another 19 were treated and released, he said.
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