7-5 John Stevens mug.jpg

A 78-year-old Mabank man entered a not guilty plea in 392nd District Court on Wednesday morning for charges resulting from a bus-train collision in January that killed an Athens student.

John Franklin Stevens was arraigned for criminally negligent homicide, a state jail felony and injury to a child, a second degree felony.

On January 25, Stevens was making the afternoon run of an Athens Independent School District bus with two children aboard. At about 4 p.m., the bus reached the railroad track and went into the path of a westbound Union Pacific freight train. The collision killed 13-year-old Christopher Bonilla and injured 9-year-old Joselyn Torres, 9. Stevens was also injured. Torres was airlifted to Children's Medical Center in Dallas, where she was treated and released a few days later. Stevens was treated at UT Health in Athens and released.

The case was turned over to District Attorney Mark Hall and presented to a grand jury. The Grand Jury indicted Stevens on May 31 He was arrested on June 3 and released after posting bond of $5,000 on each charge.