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Judge grants immunity for train employees

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ATHENS–The pre-trial for school bus driver John Stevens, of Mabank, continued Aug. 7. Judge Scott McKee presided over the hearing discussing immunity for the engineer and conductor of the Union Pacific train that hit an Athens school bus July 2019, which Stevens was driving. The wreck killed passenger Christopher Bonilla, 13, and injured Joselyn Torres, 9. 
Stevens was indicted by a grand jury on two charges of injury to a child, causing serious bodily injury and manslaughter/criminally negligent homicide. A plea of not guilty to both charges was entered by Stevens. 
Defense attorneys requested a deposition from train engineers and conductor, which the attorneys for the train employees said they would allow only if clients were granted immunity. 
Aug. 10 Judge McKee reached a six-page decision granting the prosecution’s immunity request of the Union Pacific employees. 
The judge noted several cases from the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals that outlined a judge’s role in granting immunity. 
All trial courts are suspended across Texas until Oct., per an order from the Texas Supreme Court. There is no further court date set for Stevens. 
 

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