By 6:30 Wednesday morning, Butch Jones and several prominent members of the Tennessee football program already were at McGee Tyson Airport.
With many classes on Rocky Top cancelled and the Vols set for an afternoon practice, Jones, Derek Barnett, Alex Jones, Alvin Kamara and Jalen Reeves-Maybin all traveled to Chattanooga to visit with victims, family members and support staff involved with the tragic school bus accident that claimed the lives on five children and six people overall as well as sent more than 20 people to area hospitals.
“Well, I tell you what, it was monumental,” Jones said of the visits. “For all the individuals at Woodmore Elementary, Erlanger Hospital, we were sitting there talking about it as a team, hearing about it, and our heart goes out to victims, families, the doctors and nurses and people working around the clock.
“The least we could do (was go visit). The players got up early this morning, and I tell you, it puts things in perspective. They’re in our constant prayers.”
School bus driver Johnthony Walker has been charged with multiple counts of vehicular homicide, and National Traffic Safety Board has been in Chattanooga investigating the accident. It has been determined that Walker was traveling “at an excessive rate of speed,” per officials.