Ex-school bus driver charged in wreck finds new attorney

Becky Campbell • Aug 30, 2013 at 11:05 AM

A former county school bus driver who wrecked nearly a year ago and injured 39 students has a new attorney and is slated to enter a plea later this year.

Brenda K. Gray, 55, of Jonesborough is charged with eight counts of reckless aggravated assault, 31 counts of felony reckless endangerment, speeding, reckless driving and failure to exercise due care.

Gray had been scheduled to plead guilty to charges in a deal worked out between the state and her former attorney, Michael LaGuardia. He died just days before that hearing was scheduled.

Now, attorney Clifton Corker has apparently agreed to take on the case and finish it, according to statements made in Washington County Criminal Court on Thursday.

Gray appeared briefly in Judge Robert Cupp’s courtroom where the announcement was made. He scheduled the case for a plea Oct. 9.

Several other newsmaking cases were also on Cupp’s docket and reset for one reason or another. Those cases include the following:

• Tony and Jama Curtis are a Jonesborough couple charged with bilking two elderly people out of nearly $150,000. According to court records, Jama Curtis was a caregiver for the two elderly people and made unauthorized withdrawals from bank accounts and wrote checks to herself and Tony Curtis.

One defense attorney in the case was tied up in a trial in Sullivan County and could not attend, but the case was reset to give the defense time to take a deposition from one of the elderly victims.

The Curtises will be back in court Nov. 12.

• Cody Russell, 20, Johnson City, is charged with first-degree murder for allegedly stabbing his grandmother to death Dec. 8, 2011. Russell was scheduled for a motions hearing, but it was moved to November.

• Roger Glenn Ball, 42, Greeneville, is a former preacher charged in November 2011 with two counts of solicitation of a minor after he had allegedly sent inappropriate messages to a juvenile via Facebook and a cell phone. He was also scheduled for a motions hearing. His attorney was tied up in a trial in another jurisdiction so the hearing had to be moved. No date was decided Thursday.

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