A former school bus driver in Tennessee, previously convicted following a 2016 crash that killed six children, was reportedly sentenced to four years in prison on Tuesday.
A judge ruled on the prison term for Johnthony Walker following an emotional day in court, which included an apology from Walker, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reported.
Walker was found guilty in March after the bus he was driving on Nov. 21, 2016, carrying 37 kids from Woodmore Elementary School, crashed on a winding road in Chattanooga, Tennessee. More than 20 students were injured, in addition to the six who died.
Walker was convicted of six counts of criminally negligent homicide, along with a slew of other charges.
Judge Don Poole, who presided over Tuesday’s hearing, ruled that due to the severity of the bus crash, Walker should not be sentenced to diversion or a different type of sentence, the Times Free Press reported. However, a longer prison term was reportedly not suitable either due to Walker’s lack of a criminal background and his good work history.
The decision divided victims’ relatives at the hearing. Some said it wasn’t enough time while others said they were satisfied with the punishment.
In response to the ruling, parent Jasmine Mateen said, “What’s four years?”
“He’ll get out and get to hug his child again,” she continued.
According to an affidavit of complaints, Walker was traveling at high speeds on an unauthorized route when he swerved and hit a mailbox and telephone pole, causing the bus to flip and crash into a tree.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.