The Texas Attorney General’s Office has assigned a new Assistant Attorney General to the case against John Stevens, the former Athens ISD bus driver charged in a fatal crash that left one student dead and another injured. The case is now scheduled for a jury trial in February.
The Texas Attorney General’s Office took over prosecution of the case in April after Henderson County District Attorney Jenny Palmer recused herself due to a conflict of interest.
Former prosecutor, Thomas Cloudt of the Texas Attorney General’s Office, resigned from his position and James Haugh has now been assigned to the case. Haugh took an oath as of Sept. 7 and did not pursue altering the indictment.
During the status hearing Sept. 9 District Judge Scott McKee of the 392nd District Court set a jury trial to begin Feb. 22.
Stevens, who was indicted in May 2019 for criminal negligent homicide and injury to a child, was dropping children off from school around 4 p.m. Jan. 25 when, according to Athens Police Department reports, the bus reached the railroad track, where it stopped before entering the path of a westbound Union Pacific freight train. He is being represented by attorneys Justin Weiner, Mike Head and Brian Schmidt.
“Yes, the Attorney General's Office is prosecuting the case now. This was a tragic accident and we are looking forward to resolution,” Weiner said.
The collision killed Christopher Bonilla, 13, and injured Joselyn Torres, 9. Stevens was also injured.
Several legal moves have prolonged the case, such as a request for immunity for the engineers driving the train when the wreck occurred.