School bus driver charged in crash that killed brothers given bond

School bus driver charged in death of 2 brothers given bond

COBB COUNTY, Ga. — The Fulton County school bus driver charged in the deaths of two Cobb County brothers killed in a crash will likely be out of jail by the end of Tuesday night.

Charles Pitts, 69, made his first appearance in front of a judge Tuesday morning.

The crash on Highway 92 in Roswell two weeks ago killed 18-year-old Jim Pratt and his 14-year-old brother Joe, both students at Lassiter High School.

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Police found Pitts at fault, charging him with two counts of second-degree vehicular homicide and running a stop sign.

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The charges did not rise to a felony nor first-degree charge because the accident was not intentional and no other contributing violations, such as reckless driving or DUI, were involved.

All three charges will remain misdemeanors.

Pitts' attorney told the judge they plan to fight those charges at trial.

The bus driver's attorney said the teenagers may have also been to blame in the accident.

Pitts' attorney told the judge that after looking at the preliminary crash report, the teens were speeding and the driver was on his phone when the brothers T-boned the school bus.

The speed limit on Highway 92 in Roswell is 45 mph and, according to the accident report, the teens were going 60 mph.

"They impacted the bus that my client was driving,” attorney E. Jay Abt said. “It also appears the driver, the victim who is deceased, was operating a cellphone at the time of the accident. I think the facts will play out when we get in front of a jury."

The judge set the signature bail for $21,000, which means that Pitts will be free on bond while awaiting trial without having to pay anything on the condition that he turn over his passport.