Mar 14 2016
10:56 pm
By: Sandra Clark

Betty Bean has this breaking news ...

The driver who crashed a bus loaded with 26 Green Magnet School second graders on a field trip to Safety City Thursday, March 10, has been arrested and charged with DUI. No children were injured, but the bus crashed into an entrance gate

Hollis Clay Walker, 78, of Powell, was taken to Ft. Sanders Regional Medical Center after the crash. He was arrested upon his release on March 13. The warrant says he was unsteady on his feet, “thick tongued, slurred speech” following the incident.
A post on the Knoxville Police Department Facebook page says Walker was arrested and charged with DUI, reckless endangerment and simple possession.
The day of the incident, Walker was in possession of 69 of 90 Kolonapin pills (a sedative used to treat seizures, panic disorders and anxiety) from a prescription filled earlier in the day. The warrant says he couldn’t remember whether he’d taken pills that morning.
The prescription was not in his name. Walker is being held on a $4,500 bond.
After the crash, the bus rolled onto a small grassy area near the front door of Safety City, and employees there got the children off and moved them to a safe place. Before they could return to the bus, Walker pulled away, sideswiped a fence and came to a stop in the parking lot. Emergency personnel found Walker slumped over the steering wheel and incoherent.
This is not Walker’s first brush with the law. In 2014, General Sessions Court Judge Geoff Emery ordered him to stay out of Walmart and dismissed a theft charge against him after he completed diversion. A charge of DUI by consent incurred in 2014 was dismissed last year.

bizgrrl's picture

The objective of Safety City

The objective of Safety City is to provide an early educational program for elementary school children (kindergarten-fourth grades). The program will teach children about vehicular, pedestrian, bicycle and fire safety. The skills taught at Safety City will empower youngsters with the ability to avoid needless accidents and instill good safety habits at an early age.

Wonder how we can ensure our children's bus drivers will provide a safe trip?

R. Neal's picture

Should there be a zero

Should there be a zero tolerance policy on prior DUI arrest, conviction or not?

Anyway, Knox Co. Schools seems to have a serious problem vetting school bus contractors and their drivers. Guess they're "saving" a lot of money outsourcing it, though, if you don't count lawsuits.

R. Neal's picture

Speaking of contractors, I

Speaking of contractors, I was reading about a study of school bus outsourcing. One problem the study identified is that once a school system contracts out their transportation and gets rid of all their school buses they lose all their leverage in negotiating future costs, terms, etc. and are basically at the mercy of contractors.

michael kaplan's picture

It's true of any service that

It's true of any service that relies on infrastructure (equipment, maintenance, physical plant, etc). Once dismantled, it's gone, so the issue of 'savings' becomes moot. That's why 'privatization' is so attractive to investors.

Hildegard's picture

78 years old with seizure

78 years old with seizure disorders - good job, Knox County Schools. At least he wasn't texting with a sex worker during an ice storm like the last bus driver, who actually managed to kill a few kids. Wait, I think there have been a few other DUI bus drivers on the job since that guy, so I guess KCS bus contractors troll halfway houses and nursing homes to find suitable drivers for our kids.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


78 years old with seizure disorders

We don't know whether or not he had seizure disorders, but it appears not? The prescription wasn't in his name?

But yeah, lousy vetting by the contractor and lousy oversight by KCS.

I'd be very, very reluctant to put my kids on a KCS bus...and always was, in fact.

Hildegard's picture

Anyway, at that age a

Anyway, at that age a rational consideration is it could have been a medical condition and he had the bad luck to have somebody's lawful Rx, just filled that day, on him (wife or somebody, maybe). Just conjecture. I rode the bus growing up and the best drivers were mean as hell and didn't take any shit off the kids. I'm not sure 78 is a strong position to be in on a bus full of excited kids.

bizgrrl's picture

. I rode the bus growing up

. I rode the bus growing up and the best drivers were mean as hell and didn't take any shit off the kids.

As did I. Our bus driver was the same way. I rode his bus from about 5th grade thru high school.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


Not that it would have helped in this particular instance, but when I was a kid riding a school bus, our safety patrols were in 7th and 8th grade, not 5th grade, and they took an active role in policing other kids on the bus. The more unruly of kids were made to sit with the safety patrol, on the same bench seat, I recall.

Today, it's looked to me like these very young kids serving as safety patrols don't exercise any duties beyond helping to load buses at the schools? Not sure, but it looks that way?

(The main reason I never let my kids ride the bus had less to do with their drivers and more to do with where we live, namely NOT in any subdivision. My kids would have needed to walk to and from the bus stop on an extremely narrow country road plagued by treacherous curves and one blind hill after another. Although the posted speed limit is 30 mph, traffic tends to whip by my house at 50 mph. And kids have no surface to walk on to get home except in the road. Different issue, mine.)

Hildegard's picture

How often do garbage trucks

How often do garbage trucks crash in Knox County? Any stats on that? Maybe they should call up Waste Management companies for competent drivers.

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