Brenda K. Gray
The criminal case against a former school bus driver, accused of speeding and driving recklessly before a crash that injured more than three dozen high school students, was delayed again on Thursday because plea negotiations are continuing.
Brenda Gray Is charged with 39 counts of reckless aggravated assault resulting from the Sept. 20, 2012, crash on Mount Wesley Road.
Her defense attorneys and Assistant District Attorney General Erin McArdle thought they had a plea worked out for the last scheduled hearing in April, but the defense counter offered after the states offer. And they thought it could get resolved at this setting, but the state is still reviewing the defenses suggestion for a resolution.
The crash happened shortly after Gray picked up 39 David Crockett High School students. Investigators believe she was driving between 52 and 60 mph — nearly twice the 30 mph speed limit — when she went off the left side, then overcorrected and went off the right side of the road. The bus then turned over and rolled once as it slid to a stop.
Tennessee Highway Patrol traffic investigators determined Gray was speeding and at fault for the crash.
The THP traffic crash report is one of the issues that has held up the case, as well as some problems Gray has had with her previous attorney, who died while the case was pending.
She now has two pro bono attorneys, Cliff Corker and Jim Bowman, who agreed to take the case without pay because Gray cashed in her retirement to pay that first attorney.
In April, Cupp set the trial for this week. Attorneys had hopes of coming to some type of agreement on the case before the trial date, but Cupp wanted it on a trial track due to its longevity.
Gray was expected to enter a plea this morning in Washington County Criminal Court, but Judge Robert Cupp granted yet another extension until July 18 because defense attorneys and prosecutors continued to negotiate a possible plea deal. He said, however, Gray would go to trial regardless of whether a plea was resolved by that date.
Gray remains free on bond while the case is pending.
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