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Driver in Tenn. school bus crash that killed 6 kids out on bond

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. -- The driver in a school bus crash that killed six elementary school children has made his bond and is out of jail while his case proceeds. 

Hamilton County Sheriff's Office spokesman J. Matt Lea says 25-year-old Johnthony Walker has been released to the county community corrections program, which offers an alternative to incarceration.

Johnthony Walker is charged with six counts of vehicular manslaughter. WDEF

Walker had been in jail in isolation facing 34 charges, including six counts of vehicular homicide. Authorities say Walker was speeding in November 2016 when he wrecked the bus on a curvy Chattanooga road while carrying 37 children. 

Walker's defense attorney has said he swerved to avoid a collision with another vehicle, CBS affiliate WDEF reports.   

Hamilton County Criminal Court Judge Don Poole lowered Walker's bond from more than $100,000 to $50,000. Walker must use GPS monitoring and can't drive motor vehicles pending trial, which is set to begin Feb. 27.

Tennessee school bus crash victim's mom recalls agony 02:55

Jasmine Mateen, whose daughter died in the crash, told CBS News last year that one of her two children who survived the crash told her that Walker asked the children if they were ready to die just before the crash.

"My daughter said right before the bus flipped that he was speeding around the curve and asked them 'Are y'all ready to die,'"Jasmine Mateen told CBS News correspondent Mark Strassmann. Mateen's 6-year-old daughter was killed. 

Officials did not confirm or comment on Mateen's account at the time. 

Blood tests released two weeks after the crash revealed no alcohol or drugs in Walker's system at the time of the crash.

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