SALINE COUNTY, Ark. – An early morning charter bus crash west of Benton on Interstate 30 left a 9-year-old Tennessee boy dead and dozens more injured.
The survivors, mostly children, were taken to hospitals in Benton and Little Rock. There were also some adults on the bus including parents of some of those children.
Most of the young victims were treated at Arkansas Children’s Hospital. Of the 26 patients taken there, the hospital said at a Monday afternoon news conference that 4 were still being treated. Their conditions were described as stable and all were expected to survive.
“I was in pain but I didn’t feel no pain because I had to get these kids off that bus. I didn’t know if it was going to blow up,” said Damous Hailey, Coach, one of the injured adults. His legs were so badly bruised doctors were having a difficult time getting x-rays of his injuries.
Coach Hailey says he remembers the bus flipping over and off the service road. He told our reporter he used a player’s cell phone to call 911.
The little boy who died was later identified as Kameron Johnson, 9. He was a member a youth football team from the Memphis area that had played a weekend game in Dallas.
The accident happened around 2:40 a.m. along Interstate 30 in Saline County not far from Hwy. 70. The first calls for help stated that some victims were trapped in the wreckage.
By around 11 a.m., crews began lifting the overturned bus to remove it from the road side. It’s been taken to a tow yard as the Arkansas State Police continues its investigation into how the accident happened.
SALINE COUNTY, Ark. – Arkansas State Police says one child is dead and 45 other people are hurt — many of them children — after a bus carrying a youth football team wrecked along Interstate 30 overnight.
The accident happened around 2:40 a.m. near the 111 mile marker west of Benton in Saline County.
BREAKING: 1 child is dead and 40 others are injured after a Memphis youth football team bus crash. Arkansas state police say the bus was on I-30, West of Benton, when it left the roadway and overturned. The bus driver is being questioned by state troopers. @FOX13Memphis pic.twitter.com/yXtWlZSLwK— Alexa Lorenzo (@ALorenzoFOX13) December 3, 2018
Arkansas State Police say at least 45 people were hurt in the accident. Authorities on scene initially told us more than 20 people were rushed to hospitals in Little Rock and Benton. Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock tells us they’re treating 20 patients.
The bus was traveling from Texas to Memphis. The children had played in an all-star youth football championship game in Dallas over the weekend.
#BREAKING I spoke with a coach from Memphis TN who says it was a Little League Football Team on board the bus. Players range from 9-12 yrs old. They were traveling from Dallas, TX back to Memphis. 1 person dead, at least 21 people taken to the hospital. #ARnews pic.twitter.com/zIl6CUnLlg— Susanne Brunner (@SusanneBrunner) December 3, 2018
Reporter Isabella Moller was kept pretty far from the scene. She was told the bus was in an embankment off the highway. Arkansas State Police confirmed the bus drove off the road and overturned. Law enforcement says the driver lost control.
The bus was owned by Scott Shuttle Service of Somerville, Tennessee.
As of 8:15 a.m., the road was still closed as troopers investigated and tried to reconstruct the accident. At one point, the ASP helicopter was brought in to provide investigators with a better view.
The bus driver is alive and is being questioned by law enforcement, according to Arkansas State Police.
We’ll continue to update this story with the latest developments as we receive them.