A Houston County school bus driver has been charged with vehicular homicide in a Jan. 29 school bus crash.
Shalita Jackson Harris, 29, of Warner Robins, turned herself in Thursday to authorities, according to a Warner Robins police news release. She was also charged with reckless driving.
Arlana Haynes, a 6-year-old Parkwood Elementary School first-grader, was critically injured in the afternoon crash and died early the next morning at the Medical Center, Navicent Health.
Harris was driving a 2000 Bluebird school bus north on Forest Park Drive when she entered a left curve too fast and began to exit the roadway toward the right, the release said. The bus left the roadway and rolled onto its side.
Arlana was ejected from the bus.
Harris was being processed at Warner Robins police headquarter late Thursday afternoon, and she was expected to be taken afterward and booked into the Houston County jail without bond.
If convicted of vehicular homicide, a felony, Harris faces three to 15 years imprisonment, according to Georgia law.
Harris was taking more than 35 students home from Parkwood and Pearl Stephens elementary schools on Bus No. 0009 when the bus crashed as it was headed downhill.
The bus slid for about 15 to 20 feet, Warner Robins police Assistant Chief John Wagner has said. The posted speed limit is 25 miles per hour on that stretch of roadway.
Five other students were hurt in the 4:15 p.m. crash near North Pleasant Hill Road.
"The message today from the family is basically they have no comment directly as it relates to the arrest itself," said Teddy Reese, attorney for Arlana's parents, Christopher Haynes and Angelica Rose, both of Warner Robins. "But they've said from the very beginning that they were gonna work patiently and graciously with the Warner Robins Police Department for complete investigation.
"Ultimately they wanted justice for Arlana, and this a step in the direction of justice," Reese said.
Harris has been employed by the school district since Oct. 30, 2017.
Beth McLaughlin, director of community and school affairs for the Houston County school system, said the school district's own investigation into the crash has not been completed.
"Due the ongoing investigation and pending litigation, that's all that we can comment on at this time," McLaughlin said in a statement.
No notice of pending litigation has been issued on behalf of Alana's parents, Reese said.
"We haven't had conversation with the school district other than to let them know that the family's represented," Reese said. "I can imagine they want to have access to the results of the police department investigation just like we do ... No one's discussing settlements or lawsuits or anything at this time."