KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — A Tennessee school bus driver was texting at the time of a crash that killed two young girls and an aspiring teacher in December, accident investigators said Friday.
James Davenport had sent and received multiple text messages leading up to the time the two buses collided, Knoxville police said in a written statement. Officers have met with the victims' families to inform them of the results of the investigation.
Police said they were informed that Davenport died this week as they were nearing the conclusion of their investigation. Knox County Sheriff's officials said he apparently died of natural causes, but an autopsy was ordered.
The buses were traveling in opposite directions on Asheville Highway when Davenport made a sudden left turn across a concrete median and crashed into the other bus. The crash killed Zykia Burns, 6; Seraya Glasper, 7; and teacher's aide Kimberly Riddle, 46.
Knox County Schools Superintendent Jim McIntyre said he was outraged to learn that "the negligence, selfishness and stupidity of a school bus driver employed by one of our contractors caused the death of two of our precious children and one of our fine educators."