Family of 17-year-old killed in bus crash to file lawsuit

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17-year-old Mariyah Johnson warned her parents that she hated riding the bus, at least that is what they said tonight, after their daughter was killed in bus crash that also killed 14 year old Janecia Chatman, and injured two of Chatman’s cousins, 17-year-old twins Brandon and Lakeisha Williams, who are both hospitalized. 

The Johnsons’ attorney said they will file a suit against both drivers, and, possibly, against several other parties including: the guardrail manufacturer, and HISD, for alleged negligence in their daughter's death.  They accused HISD of not training its drivers properly, something they said their daughter knew, before she was killed. 

Melody and Kelvin Johnson wept as they recalled what they say was an omen: “She was a Mama’s baby and a Daddy’s girl,” said Melody Johnson, “my biggest critic, and my biggest fan.  She complained every day about the bus driver, that she didn't speak English, and she couldn't drive, and I didn't listen, and, now, I just wish I had listened."

Meche Steele, aunt of Janecia Chatman said the 14-year-old’s four siblings, two older, and two younger, are devastated by the loss of a kind-hearted and warm sister, “she liked to play basketball,” said Steele, “she loved the internet, she loved taking care of her younger brother, and sister.  Her younger sister really looked up to her.”

Chatman also liked to go to church, and to “The Forge,” a Christian center where she had a mentor. 

“Watching her grow in her own academic dreams and pursuits for us was huge,” said Dana Thomas, the Executive Director.