Tennessee bus driver indicted in crash that killed six children

(Reuters) - The driver of a school bus that crashed in Tennessee last year, killing six children, was charged with vehicular homicide in an indictment unsealed on Wednesday, local media reported.

The indictment contained six counts of vehicular homicide against Johnthony Walker along with other criminal counts, according to a copy of the court papers posted on the website of the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

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Deadly Tennessee school bus crash

Rescue officials at the scene of a school bus crash involving several fatalities in Chattanooga, Tennessee, U.S., November 21, 2016.

(Courtesy of Chattanooga Fire Dept/Handout)

Johnthony Walker, 24, is seen in a booking photo released by the Chattanooga Police after being taken into custody and charged with five counts of vehicular homicide in connection with a school bus crash in Chattanooga, Tennesse November 21, 2016.

(Chattanooga Police Department/Handout via REUTERS)

Rescue officials at the scene of a school bus crash involving several fatalities in Chattanooga, Tennessee, U.S., November 21, 2016.

(Courtesy of Chattanooga Fire Dept/Handout)

National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigators view the wreck of a school bus in which several children were killed, at a depot in Chattanooga, Tennessee, U.S. November 22, 2016.

(NTSB/Handout via REUTERS)

Rescue officials at the scene of a school bus crash involving several fatalities in Chattanooga, Tennessee, U.S., November 21, 2016.

(Courtesy of Chattanooga Fire Dept/Handout)

Christopher Hart (C), chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, speaks with Chattanooga Police and Tennessee Highway Patrol officers while viewing the wreck of a school bus in which several children were killed, at a depot in Chattanooga, Tennessee, U.S. November 22, 2016.

(NTSB/Handout via REUTERS)

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Walker, 24, was arrested last year in connection with the Nov. 21 bus crash in Chattanooga. Authorities have said he was speeding on a winding road while using a cellphone before the bus veered off course, flipped on its side and hit a tree.

Walker's attorney could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.

Walker has remained in jail since his arrest, according to local media. The charge of vehicular manslaughter carries a maximum sentence of up to 30 years in prison.

The indictment was filed in Hamilton County criminal court. Walker is due to appear before a judge on March 24, according to the website for the local district attorney's office, which confirmed the indictment was unsealed on Wednesday.

The grand jury that handed down the indictment also charged Walker with four counts of reckless aggravated assault, reckless endangerment, reckless driving and use of a cellphone behind the wheel of a school bus, said the court papers posted by the Times Free Press.

Over a dozen other children on the bus were injured in the crash.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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