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Chattanooga PD: No alcohol or drugs in driver's system, no 'ready to die' claims verified

During a Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2016 press conference, Chattanooga Police Department Sgt. Austin Garrett provided clarity into claims surrounding the investigation into a school bus crash that took the lives of five children in Chattanooga, Tenn. on Monday, Nov. 21, 2016. (WZTV)

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WZTV - Chattanooga PD Presser

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WZTV) - Chattanooga Police Department Sgt. Austin Garrett provided clarity into claims surrounding the investigation into a school bus crash that took the lives of five children on Monday.

Sgt. Garrett told FOX 17 News and other media outlets there is so far no legitimacy into claims bus driver Johnthony Walker asked children if they were "ready to die" before the crash. Sgt. Garrett says none of the witnesses they have interviewed have substantiated such claims, though he did point out not all witnesses have been interviewed. Chattanooga Police have not yet interviewed the children involved in the crash.

Sgt. Garrett also says no alcohol or drugs were found in Walker's system during toxicology testing, so they did not play a factor in the crash. Sgt. Garrett added there are six children still hospitalized, but he will no longer issue updates on the health statuses of children out of respect to their families.

Police have removed all video evidence from the bus, which recorded views from the front, back, and side of the bus at the time of the crash. The investigation continues to be in the "early stages." The NTSB was expected to issue its own investigation update at 4 p.m. Central time.

The update from Chattanooga Police came shortly after the CEO of bus company Durham School Services issued an emotional video message directed at the families of children involved in the crash. In the video, David A. Duke expressed his pain and sadness surrounding the crash, and says he will fully cooperate with investigators as the investigation continues.


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