The driver of a church bus that crashed near Indianapolis, Ind., in July 2015, killing a 6-year-old boy and injuring 11 others was sentenced on July 20 to six years in prison, three of which will be suspended for probation.
Fifty-four-year-old Charles Goodman of Chicago had allegedly used cocaine before driving a dozen members of the St. Jude Family Deliverance Worship Center in Gary, Ind., to a conference in Dayton, Ohio. Mr. Goodman veered off of I-70 in Greenfield, Ind. The bus stuck a tree, flipped over, and caught on fire.
Jason Williams, 6, of Gary, Ind., was pronounced dead at the scene.
Mr. Goodman was tried on charges of reckless homicide, driving while suspended, and causing death while intoxicated. He was acquitted of the reckless homicide charges.
Mr. Goodman had repeatedly denied he was driving under the influence of cocaine, instead telling reporters that the bus had suspension and power-steering problems and was overheating before the crash.
Last summer, Mr. Goodman told WISH TV News 8 “the tires on the driver’s side blew up and the truck went sideways. Then we went into the ravine and that’s what happened. I had no control over the bus.”
However, vehicle inspections turned up no evidence the bus had mechanical issues that could have contributed to or caused the fatal crash.
According to the Daily Reporter, Mr. Goodman also had a history of driving violations at the time of the crash, and was wanted on a warrant issued in Lake County, Ind., after he failed to appear in court for a traffic offense. Authorities found he was driving on a suspended license at the time of the crash.