ATHENS, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – The man behind the wheel of a school bus crash that killed a 13-year-old middle school student in Athens has pled not guilty to charges against him.
John Stevens, 78, was driving an Athens ISD bus on January 25 when it was struck by a train as it was crossing railroad tracks, killing Christopher Bonilla and injuring his 9-year-old cousin.
During the investigation, Stevens was arrested and charged with criminally negligent homicide and injury to a child.
According to authorities, the school bus was starting to cross the tracks when an oncoming train crashed into its left side and pushed it toward the next crossing. Athens police said there was only a cross buck at the intersection where the bus tried to cross.
During an arraignment Wednesday, Stevens’ attorney said the 78-year-old pled not guilty to the charges against him.
His next court appearance is scheduled for September 9.
The CBS 11 I-Team talked to a train crossing expert who called the intersection where the crash happened “an accident waiting to happen” and “a death trap.”