Gwenevere Cook, the mother of school bus driver Johnthony Walker, said Nov. 23 that the bus accident that killed five children on Nov. 21 in Chattanooga, Tennessee, was "God's will" (video below).
"My heart of love is going out to all that were in harm's way in this horrible accident of God's will," Cook told WRCB.
It doesn't seem local law enforcement considered the accident to be God's will, because Walker was charged with five counts of vehicular homicide (one for each child), reckless endangerment and reckless driving.
According to the police, Walker likely lost control of the school bus, which crashed into a driveway and mailbox, then hit a utility pole and turned over on its side.
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Witnesses said the bus was going faster than the 30 mph speed limit, but Cook, who called WRCB from Atlanta, denied that her son was speeding.
"Try a lot of love, compassion and understanding," Cook lectured viewers. "I pray we all can just, some kind of way, get through this some way without judging my son. It happens. God don't make mistakes. We do."
Jasmine Mateen, who lost her 6-year-old daughter in the bus accident, told the news station that she had complained to Woodmore Elementary School and the board of education about Walker for months.
"I've been calling, complaining about this bus driver since August," Mateen said.
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Mateen recalled that the school principal read her complaint letter about Walker "slamming on brakes on purpose, making all the kids hit their heads" to Walker, who replied, "So? I'd do it again."
According to Mateen, her kids said that Walker drank every day on the bus, cursed at the students and was always speeding:
Like when I just told the board of education when they just called, "I've been calling y'all since August" .. I said, "Now y'all doing what y'all supposed to been doing now that it's too late. Now that there are six kids dead. Y'all doing what y'all supposed to be doing, but my baby laying in a cold freezer." Her mouth was open like this, like she was screaming.
National Safety Transportation Board Chairman Christopher Hart said there may be video footage from cameras inside the bus that will help determine the official cause, reports NBC News.
Hart said the bus did not have safety belts.
In addition to the children who were killed, dozens more were injured and had to be taken to the Children's Hospital at Erlanger.
Dr. Darvey Koller told reporters that six kids were in critical condition Nov. 22, while six more were in stable condition.