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.

Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: AARON, DARREL DEON 211 APPLING STREET CHATTANOOGA, 37406 35 Chattanooga LICENSE, EXPIRED DRIVER LICENSE DRIVING LEFT OF CENTER LINE FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY POSSESSION OF CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE ATKINSON, JAMAAL NATHANIEL 737 TALLEY RD CHATTANOOGA, 37411 23 Chattanooga DOMESTIC ASSAULT ... (click for more)

Red Bank Citizens Urged To Attend Meeting On Flood Risk Maps

A public meeting will be held on Monday, April 13, from 4-7 p.m. with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at the DRC building, 1250 Market St. “I can’t convey how important it is for the residents of Red Bank to go,” said City Manager Randall Smith. This will be an opportunity for residents and property owners to review the new preliminary flood risk maps, as well as ... (click for more)

Women Don't Ask For Rape, They Ask For Justice

The stereotypical irrationality that women typically lie about rape has brought an enormous amount of social stigma to this population. Many like to think that rape is not a huge issue in the United States, and that the media blows it out of proportion. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) reported that approximately 17.7 million females in America have been raped, with 108,612 ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Happy Birthday, Mr. Berg

This past Monday we should have closed the Post Office, let kids out of school, and lowered our flags to half-mast. March 2 is the anniversary of Moe Berg’s birthday and the legendary Casey Stengel once said Moe was “the strangest man ever to play baseball.” Moe played major league baseball for 16 years, finishing with the Boston Red Sox in 1939 and a lifetime batting average of ... (click for more)

Double Overtime Thriller: Central Boys Going To State

For all the folks who came to Chattanooga State Tuesday night for the Class AA sectional battle between Livingston Academy and Region 3-AA champ Central, they got their money's worth and more. And they even got some free basketball to boot. Needing a couple of overtimes, the Purple Pounders will be heading to Murfreesboro and MTSU's Murphy Center next week for the TSSAA State ... (click for more)

Blackman Blazes A Trail To State By Bashing Bradley, 55-35

(Story will be updated) MUFREESBORO, Tenn. – The Class AAA state champions are still alive and well. Blackman raced past outmanned Bradley Central, 55-35, Tuesday night in a Class AAA sectional victory that blazed a path right to the boys state tournament at nearby Middle Tennessee State University starting on March 11. The Blaze (24-5) will be making their fourth ... (click for more)