Tenn. school bus driver involved in crash that killed 2 students was texting
(NY Daily News) KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – A Tennessee school bus driver was texting when he crashed into a second bus, killing two young girls and a teacher’s aide last year — but he won’t face charges because he died on Monday.
James Davenport sent and received multiple messages just before he swerved and collided with the other school bus on a Knoxville road in December, police announced Friday following a six-month investigation.
Two students — 6-year-old Zykia Burns and 7-year-old Seraya Glasper — died in the crash, alongside 46-year-old Kimberly Riddle, an aspiring teacher.
Davenport died on Monday as police wrapped up their investigation, WBIR reported. The 48-year-old suffered severe injuries in the wreck, but a preliminary report said he died of natural causes. A full autopsy will determine his official cause of death.
While police turned over their findings to prosecutors Friday, the District Attorney’s Office said it will be unable to press charges against Davenport due to his death.
“We always want to seek justice. That’s why we’re here. That’s why we do what we do,” Deputy Assistant Attorney General Kyle Hixson said at a press conference. “So the fact that in some measure, these families were not able to have that, that is upsetting.”
The two buses were traveling in opposite directions on Asheville Highway when Davenport made a sudden left turn across the concrete median and crashed into the other bus taking children home from a primary school, police said.
All three victims were dead by the time paramedics arrived at the scene. Another 23 people were injured in the wreck.
Officers met with the victims’ families to inform them of the results of the investigation.
“This has been a very difficult procedure for all involved, and hopefully, this has provided the families another step in their healing process,” police said in the statement.
The Rev. A. Gene Thomas Jr., pastor to little Seraya’s family, said news of Davenport’s death “opened up old wounds” for her family
“But they’re strong, they’ve made it this far and they’re going to continue to make it,” he said. “We just continue to remember Seraya in a good way.”