CARROLL COUNTY, Ga.,None - The mother of a 17-year-old Temple High School student who died in a school bus crash says it’s not right that the bus driver won't serve any jail time.
A Carroll County Judge sentenced former Carroll County Schools bus driver Trainee Kenneth Herringdine to probation and a $600 fine for the October 2010 crash. James Walker was on board the bus when it crashed and was ejected. The Georgia State Patrol said the bus then rolled onto top of him, killing him.
Walker's mother, Diana Lockett, burst into tears as she left the courtroom. Once in the hallway, she shouted out. "It's wrong. Just wrong," she screamed, talking about the sentence.
Prosecutors charged Herringdine with failure to maintain lane, a misdemeanor. Lockett said he should have faced a much stiffer charge.
"I'm mad. I’m outraged. It was wrong. My son is dead. He is gone on with his life. What's $600? What's a $600 fine?" she said.
Prosecutors said there was no evidence of speeding and said Herringdine's trainers said he needed no additional training right before the crash. They also told the court video from the bus shows Herringdine doing nothing wrong.
Walker's parents have hired a lawyer and she disputes that Herringdine needed no additional training. "It was clear that this man was not properly licensed to drive a school bus," attorney B.J. Bernstein said.
As for Herringdine, he apologized for his role in the crash. "I'm very sorry it happened. Whatever I could have done to cause it not to happen I would have, and I wished it would have been me instead of him," Herringdine told the court.
Those words didn't soothe Walker's mother. "My child dead. My child dead and they don't care. The court system don't care," she said.
Now that the criminal investigation is over, Walker's family will try and get the Georgia State Patrol's detailed accident reconstruction report.
They said what they find in that report will determine if they will file a lawsuit in the case.