In Chattanooga bus crash, victims range from kindergarten to 4th grade

By: Jennifer Britt and Alexis Stevens , The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. - Zyaira Mateen dreamed of being a doctor. But in the meantime, the 6-year-old loved to make others laugh with her silly antics, her mother said Tuesday.

“I can be sad and she would always do something funny, just to make you laugh,” Jasmine Mateen said.

On Monday, Zyaira and four other Chattanooga elementary school students were killed in the deadliest school bus crash in recent history. The young victims ranged from kindergarten to fourth grade.

Another 12 students from Woodmore Elementary School were in the hospital, six of them in critical condition and six others stable. An additional 19 children were treated at the hospital and released later Monday. The driver has been charged with multiple counts of vehicular homicide. He was speeding and weaving prior to the crash, authorities said.

Police have said they will not release the names of the young victims because they are juveniles, but friends and loved ones have begun sharing their names and some nice memories.

Zyanna Harris, 10, was also among the dead.

Sisters Janesia and Ja’mya Butchee, both students at Woodmore, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that they’d been friends with Zyanna.

“She was funny,” Ja’mya said, recalling Zyanna.

“She was cool to hang around with,” her sister recalled. “She was just joyful."

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Three other victims have also been identified by loved ones and media outlets. They are Cordayja Jones and Zoie Nash, both 9, and D’Myunn Brown, 6.

Zyaira Mateen was seated next to her sister, Zasmyn, at the time of the crash, according to their mother. Zasmyn survived. So did an older sister, 10-year-old Zacauree’A Brown. Both were injured. Zacuaree’A has a concussion, a neck injury and broken bones in her legs.

 

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