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Texas Attorney General’s Office will prosecute bus driver charged in student’s death

John Franklin Stevens, 80, was arrested in June 2019 on charges of criminally negligent...
John Franklin Stevens, 80, was arrested in June 2019 on charges of criminally negligent homicide and injury to a child.(KLTV)
Published: Apr. 6, 2021 at 12:14 PM CDT
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ATHENS, Texas (KLTV) - The Henderson County District Attorney’s Office has recused itself in the case against the bus driver accused in the death of an Athens ISD student.

Jenny Palmer of the DA’s office took over of the case of John Franklin Stevens, 80, in January.

On Feb. 10, Palmer filed a motion to recuse, citing a conflict of interest.

In the motion, she stated the attorney general’s office has agreed to prosecute the case.

Stevens was arrested in June 2019 on charges of criminally negligent homicide and injury to a child.

The arrest came after an Athens ISD bus collided with a train on Jan. 25, 2019.

The bus had stopped before the crossing, and then Stevens drove onto the track directly in front of the westbound train, according to investigators.

Christopher Bonilla, a 13-year-old Athens Middle School student, was killed in the crash.

Nine-year-old Joselyne Torres, a student from Central Athens Elementary, was injured.

She was trapped inside the bus.

Stevens was previously set for a court hearing on Wednesday.

That date has been reset to June 7.

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