Knoxville police blame a school bus driver texting for the deadly December 2014 school bus crash, which killed two students and a teacher’s aide.

Knoxville police said in a released police statement that James Davenport had sent and received multiple text messages leading up to the time the two buses collided in December of 2014. The investigation file has been turned over to county prosecutors. The two buses were traveling in opposite directions on Asheville Highway when Davenport made a sudden left turn across the concrete median and crashed into the other bus while taking children home from school.

Police identified the two children who were killed as Zykia Burns, 6, and Seraya Glasper, 7. The adult was 46-year-old Kimberly Riddle, a teacher’s aide. Twenty-four passengers were injured and 16 had no injuries.


Police said they were informed that Davenport died this week as they were nearing the conclusion of their investigation. Knox County Sheriff’s officials said he apparently died of natural causes. But an autopsy was ordered for Davenport, who had sustained serious injuries in the crash.

The Rev. A. Gene Thomas Jr. was Seraya’s pastor. “It’s saddening and disheartening to know that he was texting while he was driving,” Thomas said. “Unfortunately we live in a society where individuals break the law and tragically take the life of someone on else because they’re negligent.”