Tennessee School Bus Driver, Who Crashed Into Another School Bus Killing 3, Will Never Face Charges

A Tennessee school bus driver was distracted behind the wheel when he crashed into another school bus, killing two young children and a teacher’s aide, last year. However, he will never face charges.

Unfortunately, the school bus driver, James Davenport, 48, died on Monday of what appeared to be natural causes and will never face charges. The victims — six-year-old Zykia Burns and seven-year-old Seraya Glasper — died in the crash, alongside 46-year-old Kimberly Riddle, an aspiring teacher, according to the New York Daily News. An autopsy of the school bus driver will determine the exact cause of death.

Investigators determined that Davenport was distracted because he was texting at the time of the crash. He sent and received multiple messages just moments before swerving and colliding with the other school bus on a Knoxville, Tennessee, road in December, police announced Friday, following an exhaustive six-month probe by the Knoxville Police Department.

The Knoxville PD says they were determined to learn why the school bus driver crashed into the other bus and will turn over the results to the District Attorney’s Office.

“The investigators were committed to finding the cause of the crash whether it be from human error, a mechanical issue, weather related or a combination of factors.”

Students Zykia Burns (left) and Seraya Glasper (center), and Kimberly Riddle (right).

Deputy Assistant Attorney General Kyle Hixson said at a press conference Friday that despite Davenport’s death, his office will try to bring closure to the victims’ families.

“Due to Mr. Davenport’s death, we are legally unable to pursue any criminal charges against him. We always want to seek justice; that’s why we’re here, that’s why we do what we do. So the fact that in some measure, these families were not able to have that, that is upsetting.”

Officials are awaiting the autopsy results on the Tennessee school bus driver. Davenport suffered injuries due to the crash and if those are determined to be related to the crash, the total number of victims would be updated to four.

According to Hixson, investigators have been meeting with the families of the two girls and the teacher’s aide for the past two days hoping to provide some closure for their loss. Officials have updated family members of the result of their investigation into the crash that killed their loved ones on December 2, 2014.

Knoxville attorney Gregory P. Isaacs, who represents the families of Glasper and Riddle, said on Tuesday Davenport’s death would not deter them from filing a wrongful death lawsuit “in the very near future.”

“Our sympathies go out to the Davenport family and this is a very unfortunate tragedy. But our focus is on our clients… who are individuals of tremendous faith and courage who lost loved ones in this tragedy.”

Texting and driving is a minor felony in Tennessee, according to Hixson, however the consequences can be disastrous and will have serious ramifications.

“Anytime you kill someone, as the driver of the car, you’re subjecting yourself to criminal liability. Vehicular homicide is, of course, a very serious felony.”

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