Bus Driver Will Not Face Charges In Tragic Bus Accident

Friday, April 18, 2014 - by Hollie Webb

Sergeant Tommy Sturdivan announced in a Friday afternoon press conference that the investigation into the death of six-year-old Zackery Bryant at Chattanooga Valley Elementary has been officially declared complete and that there will be no criminal charges.

Zackery died tragically on Monday morning after being hit by a school bus after stepping off. According to Sgt. Sturdivan, police reviewed school videos and came to the conclusion that Zackery had walked in front of the front right tire of the bus, out of the driver's range of vision.

Sgt. Sturdivan said it appeared Zackery had dropped an electronic game device and had been bending over to pick it up. He said from what they found, the corner of the front bumper had caught the mesh on Zackery's backpack and pulled the child down when the bus started to move.

According to the coroner, the autopsy on Wednesday showed the cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head. 

When asked about the driver, Sgt. Sturdivan said there were no signs the incident was anything but a tragic accident. The driver was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

He said, "He was obviously shaken and distraught but there was nothing to indicate he was under the influence of anything that day, nothing...He never would have been able to see him where he was in front of the bus." 

An employee of the school system for the past six years, he was described as someone who "took his job seriously" and "loved his students."

The bus was also investigated, but no signs were found of any kind of malfunction. 

Sgt. Sturdivan said, "It's been a very difficult week." He said for him personally, this was the hardest investigation he has ever participated in.

Walker County Superintendent of Schools Damon Raines said, "You're obviously trained for safety at your school but you never expect anything this devastating."

He said because a school employee and an onsite police officer reacted quickly, the number of people who saw the incident was minimal. He also said counselors from other schools had been at Chattanooga Valley Elementary all week in case any students needed to talk. Students have been encouraged to seek further grief counseling if needed. 

Mr. Raines said, "This is understandably difficult for the Bryant family, and our hearts continue to go out to them. But also to the driver, because he will have to live with this."

Sgt. Sturdivan also told members of the media that the family has requested no one show the security video of the incident.

Daniel Mooney, 31, Shot On Greenway View Drive Saturday Evening; Warrants Issued For Paul Vandiver, 65

Daniel J. Mooney, 31, was shot Saturday night, and Paul Vandiver, 65, is being sought on several charges. Chattanooga Police responded at 7:17 p.m. on Saturday to  an argument in the homeless camp area near the 400 block of Greenview Way Drive. Mooney suffered a gunshot wound. He was transported to a local hospital by HCEMS for non-life threatening wounds.  ... (click for more)

Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: BARBY, MATTHEW DEWAYNE  4030 DORRIS ST CHATTANOOGA, 37410  Age at Arrest: 47 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga CONTEMPT OF COURT(NON-SUPPORT) --- BARNEY, DARRYL BOJANGLES  2106 LAURA STREET CHATTANOOGA, 37406  Age at Arrest: 48 years old Arresting Agency: Hamilton County ... (click for more)

Being Proactive With Parkinson's Disease

Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer’s and is the 14th leading cause of death in the United States. It affects an estimated one million Americans and four to six million worldwide,  There is no cure for Parkinson’s, and 60,000 new cases are diagnosed each year in the United States alone. Source: National Parkinson’s Foundation  ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: My Garden In May

Back when we were kids this day’s battle cry was, “Hooray, hooray for the First of May! Outdoor swimming starts today! With temperatures in the high 80s and we dive in to a new month, our monthly walk in a garden heavy with spring time pollen looks promising … AN ORCHID for the movie “Rocky” on its 40 th anniversary: “Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t ... (click for more)

Shrum, Gautier Win Communities In Schools 5K

Ryan Shrum and Jan Gautier may still be recovering from the Boston Marathon 12 days ago, but that didn’t keep them from winning overall titles in the 18 th Annual Communities In Schools 5K in Ringgold Saturday morning. The race, a circular 3.1-mile route that was somewhat flat, but included a few challenging climbs, was sponsored by First Volunteer Bank with proceeds benefitting ... (click for more)

Baylor Baseball Complex Dedicated to the Etters and Wyatt McMahan

It was the summer of 1961 and a 10-year-old boy and a college grad were starting their baseball journey – a journey which would eventually connect them for decades to come. While Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris were chasing the ghost of Babe Ruth and the then home run record of 60 round trippers, Wyatt McMahan was in his first year in Joe Engel’s Knothole League in White Oak ... (click for more)