Pictured: The Children, No Older Than 10, Killed in Tennessee School Bus Crash
The five students who were killed in Monday's bus crash in Chattanooga, Tennessee, have been identified, according to family, friends and local reports
The five Woodmore Elementary School students who were killed in Monday’s bus crash in Chattanooga, Tennessee — none older than 10 — have been identified, according to their family members, friends and local media reports.
D’Myunn Brown, 6; Zyanna Harris, 10; Cordayja Jones, 9; Zyaira Mateen, 6; and 9-year-old Zoie Nash were on the bus that crashed, turned on its side and wrapped around a tree, critically injuring several more students.
The bus driver has since been charged with vehicular homicide.
The students have been described as sweet, lovable spirits. Zyanna liked to dance — as did Zoie, the only girl in her family, who also played softball. Cordayja was “always smiling.”
After Diamond Brown learned about the bus crash on Facebook, she reportedly rushed to the scene to find her only child, 6-year-old D’Myunn, who she knew was on the bus.
After hours of anguish, authorities at the hospital told her around 10:30 p.m. that night that he had died, HLN reports.
“There was nothing that they could do for him,” Diamond told the news outlet, sobbing. “It just took so long for me to find out that my baby was gone. He was my only child.”
Diamond remembered D’Myunn as an outgoing boy who loved Spider-Man, talking a lot and dancing in YouTube videos. His cousin Sharri Brown described him as smart and playful to the Chattanooga Times Free Press.
Diamond told HLN that every moment with her son was precious: She had recently returned home after serving a five-year prison sentence, leaving D’Myunn when he as just 1 year old.
“I hadn’t seen him in five years, and I had only been out for four months,” she said. “I [have] been the best mother I could be to him.”
A close family friend of Zyanna says that she was a “sweet girl” who was never involved in drama.
“She was into dancing, cheering, anything girly,” 13-year-old Sireunya Eberhardt tells PEOPLE. “She was loving and very kind to her brothers and sisters. She was a family person and very friendly.”
Quiet and always smiling is how Sireunya remembers Zyanna. If you needed anything, she says, Zyanna was there to help. If her little brother fell, she’d pick him up and make sure he was okay.
Sireunya, who is friends with Zyanna’s older sister, found out that she died around 1 a.m. Tuesday.
“I just burst into tears. I didn’t know what to do. I just didn’t believe it was true,” she says. “We would’ve never really thought this would happen so soon.
“She barely got her foot in life to get to experience everything. But she’s in a better place.”
Zyanna’s family could not be reached (her mother was not ready to speak publicly), but her stepfather also confirmed her identity to WREG.
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Cordayja’s aunt tells PEOPLE the 9-year-old was among the dead.
“She didn’t meet any strangers,” Kellie Jones says. “She was my niece, but she was also my baby, too. She was very special. She is missed by so many people.”
Kellie says Cordayja’s mother and father have been hit hard by her death, understandably: “We’re trying to comfort each other. We’re trying,” Kellie says. “It’s hard. We find ourselves sitting back talking to her or reminiscing and then sometimes you just have to break down. I sat in my car last night and just broke down and screamed.”
Kellie says she learned about the crash Monday afternoon as she was getting off work, when a friend who works for the school called her. She learned Cordayja — who went by Dayja — had died as she drove to the scene.
“When I got to the hospital, I told [Cordayja], ‘I wish you could just breath for me,’ ” Kellie says. “I told her I loved her.”
Cordayja’s cousin, LaFrederick Thirkill, took to Facebook to share the family’s grief. “Our family appreciates your sympathy during this tragic incident,” he wrote.
“She was a sweet girl and will surely be missed.”
“She was always smiling, very soft-spoken,” Thirkill told the Times Free Press. “My heart is truly broken for her and her mother.”
“Whenever I was with her she was always on my phone, taking pictures,” Kellie tells PEOPLE. “I can go on my phone and if I want I can hear her voice and listen to her videos that she made. That’s all she did — make videos. I’m always going to hold onto that, my memories of her.
Her mother, Jasmine, said she’s trying to stay strong despite being absolutely heartbroken, according to reports.
“She was always, always doing something silly to make you laugh, make you feel loved,” Jasmine told WSB-TV about her 6-year-old daughter. (Jasmine confirmed her death to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution as well.)
Jasmine said that she filed complaints with the school system about the bus driver, Johnthony Walker, since school started.
“I’ve been doing this since the first day of school, when he was on the bus smoking,” she told WSB. “But now the Board of Education wants to call me. ‘We doing something about it.’ Yeah, now these kids are dead. These kids are injured.”
Jasmine relived the horrifying moment that she saw her daughter’s body after she died. “Her mouth was open this — like she was screaming,” she told NBC News in tears.
Jasmine said that two of her other children were seriously hurt in the crash.
(PEOPLE has not been able to reach either the Brown or Mateen families.)
Zoie’s uncle Antwon McClain told the Times Free Press that the fourth-grader — the only girl in a family of brothers — loved playing softball, made good grades and was also on a dance team.
Zoie’s mother confirmed her death to PEOPLE. Misti Forrest Nash describes Zoie “a people person.”
“She was one of six — the only girl,” Misti says. “She couldn’t do nothing, she said she could never have a boyfriend. They all looked out for her.”
Misti says that Zoie’s younger brother Zecheriah, with whom she was “real close,” was on the bus with her when it crashed. Though he was initially in the ICU, his condition has improved.
“They always take that bus home,” Misti says.
She says she learned of the crash while at work, when Zachariah’s teacher called her. She didn’t know Zoie had died until she got to the hospital.
“It seems like a dream,” Misti says. “It hasn’t hit me yet.”
“[Zoie] was so lovable,” McClain, her uncle, told the Free Press. “She had a great spirit. She was a great athlete.”
Bus Driver Charged and in Custody
According to police, Walker, 24, was driving the bus that crashed and is facing charges for vehicular homicide, reckless driving and reckless endangerment. Police allege he was speeding before losing control of the vehicle.
Walker remains in custody. Police say he has retained a public defender, but PEOPLE has not been able to reach his lawyer. He has not entered a plea.
Walker’s mother, Gwenevere Cook, told CNN the crash was “a horrible nightmare.”
“I feel bad for my son,” said Cook, who PEOPLE has not been able to reach. “And I am torn up for the [victims’] family members.”