Driver of Athens School Bus Pleads Not Guilty

John Stevens faces charges of injury to a child and manslaughter

The driver of a school bus that was struck by a train, killing a 13-year-old boy, pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Wednesday to charges of injury to a child and manslaughter, court records show.

John Franklin Stevens was at the wheel of the Athens Independent School District bus struck by a Union Pacific freight train at an Athens crossing on Jan. 25. Two children were riding the bus. The boy was killed and a 9-year-old girl was injured.

Stevens was indicted June 5.

A statement from the Henderson County District Attorney's Office said the bus stopped at the crossing and proceeded before the train. The locomotive shoved the bus down the track and into crossing signage and gates.

Stevens' next scheduled hearing is Sept. 9.

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