Washington County VA

Student: Bus driver asked 'who wants to lose their stomachs?'

Bus driver in court

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Tenn. - A grand jury will now hear the case of a former Washington County, Tennessee bus driver Brenda Gray.    

Gray was in court Tuesday morning for a preliminary hearing and faces several felony charges after the bus she was driving crashed in September, injuring dozens of students.

14-year-old Shannon Warren took the stand to testify against her former bus driver Brenda Gray. "Before we went over the hill, she asked who wanted to 'lose their stomachs,'" Warren said. "That means she was going to go fast so we could jump the hill."

Warren told the courtroom during Gray's preliminary hearing their bus ride home sometimes turned into a game. She told News 5 that happened more than once when it came to going fast down the hill along Mt. Wesley Road. "The first day I rode the bus we did it," Warren said.

Tennessee Highway Patrol officers took the stand too. Trooper William Shelton spoke with Gray just after the accident. "She advised she was the bus driver [and] stated that she was traveling down Mt. Wesely Road and was distracted by some children, causing her to run off the roadway and come back across the roadway," said Shelton.

THP trooper James Fillers testified the bus was going between 52 and 60 miles per hour on the road, which has a speed limit of just 30 miles an hour.

"52 being the critical speed of the curve, and then 60 was the speed I obtained from the tire marks and the distance she traveled, the bus traveled, at final rest," Fillers explained.

Parents and students like Cheyenne Bunton, possibly the most seriously injured student from the wreck, were in the courtroom when Judge Robert Lincoln made his ruling. Lincoln found probable cause to bind the case over to a grand jury.

Warren said she has no hard feelings against Gray and enjoyed her as a bus driver, but after surviving an accident like this justice is what she's hoping for. "I think she should be punished for it," said Warren.

Gray is charged with eight counts of reckless aggravated assault and 31 counts of felony reckless endangerment.

If a grand jury indicts gray on these charges, she is scheduled to come back to court in January.    

Her attorney declined to give us a comment.

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