Earlier this year we wrote about a horrific school bus crash that killed two young children and a teacher’s aide in December of 2014. New information has come to light on the incident after an investigation by the Knox County District Attorney. The details uncovered during the investigation show that this tragedy was entirely preventable.
The driver of Bus 44, James Davenport, was alleged to have been looking down at the time of the accident according to witnesses. Other witnesses outside the bus observed his bus swerve to avoid traffic stopped at a traffic light. During the swerve, Bus 44 crossed the median and collided with Bus 57 driven by Joe Gallman. Both vehicles were speeding at the time of the accident.
Phone records show that Davenport was receiving a string of angry text messages from a woman named Lacey, and a previous investigation by the Knoxville Police Department revealed that Davenport was distracted by his phone during the accident. Neither vehicle was found to have any physical or mechanical defect that would have contributed to the crash.
This tragedy was entirely preventable, and blame for the accident that cost three people their lives rests squarely on the shoulders of James Davenport. Davenport passed away at his home in early June, preventing the families of those who were lost any closure through formal legal proceedings.
If Davenport, and by extension, Gallman, had obeyed the rules of the road and been driving at the speed limit, this accident may not have been fatal. If Davenport had chosen to act prudently and turn off his phone while transporting a bus full of young children, this accident may have been avoided altogether.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those lost to us. We encourage everyone to adopt the same Safe Driving Policy that we use at Rocky McElhaney Law Firm. We are dedicated to ending distracted driving and promoting safe practices that will keep our friends and family out of danger on the roads. We invite you to join us in our efforts to keep our roadways safe by adopting the Safe Driving Policy at home and at work.