One year after fatal bus crash: Mom keeps daughter's memory alive

A year after her daughter was killed in a school bus crash, one local mother is keeping her child's memory alive by leading a foundation to lobby for better safety on buses.

HOUSTON - Melody Johnson took a few brief steps to a memorial and an open wound on Thursday. 

“What really happened...” asked Melody Johnson as she stood next to a memorial at the 610 Loop and Telephone road. “I’m just thinking about the events that transpired that day.”

To Johnson, that day still seems like a blur. “I remember receiving a phone call saying my daughter was possibly in an accident. I was sent to two different hospitals.” 

Twenty four hours later, she was sent to the county morgue. 

“When I finally got to see my daughter, I had to identify her by picture.” she recalled. 

Seventeen-year-old Mariya Johnson, a Reach Charter High School senior, had been ejected from an HISD school bus that had tumbled off of a bridge. Fourteen-year-old Janecia Chatman was also killed in the accident.

Two other students on the bus were hurt, and part of Melody died. 

“For six months, I couldn’t talk to people. I couldn’t leave my house. And one day through prayer, I found out that you have a purpose. You have a mission. These babies cannot die and their death be in vain. We have to stand together.” she said.

And Johnson’s stand exactly one year after that horrific crash was to start the “Armariya Warriors,” a foundation named in honor of her daughter to lobby for better safety on school buses. 

“So that no other mother or father or grandparent will have to go through what we went through,” said Johnson. 

You can help support the Armariya Warriors here.


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