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Child dead, 45 other people injured after bus crash in Arkansas

A child died and at least 45 other people, mostly children, were injured when a bus carrying a youth football team crashed in Arkansas, police said.
Image: Arkansas bus crash
A charter bus carrying youth football teams home to Tennessee crashed early Monday near Benton, Arkansas.Josh Snyder / The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette via AP

A boy in the third grade was killed and at least 45 other people, most of them children, were injured when a bus carrying several youth football teams home from an all-star tournament crashed in Arkansas early Monday, police said.

The crash was reported at 2:40 a.m. Monday (3:40 a.m. ET) after the charter bus left the roadway and overturned on Interstate 30 in Saline County, west of Benton, Arkansas State Police said. The bus was traveling home from an all-star tournament in Dallas to Memphis, Tennessee.

The school district identified the boy who was killed as Kameron Johnson. It gave no age for Kameron, but it said he was a third-grader at Aspire Coleman Elementary School in Memphis.

At least 45 other people were injured when the bus tumbled down the embankment. Bobby White, a spokesman for Achievement School District in Memphis, said students from five of the district's schools were on the bus.

The driver survived and said in an initial statement that she lost control, causing the bus to roll off the interstate, police said. The bus was owned by Scott Shuttle Service of Tennessee.

Arkansas Children's Hospital received 26 patients, 22 of whom had been released by late Monday afternoon, officials said. Its patients suffered a variety of injuries, including skull fractures, arm fractures and liver and spleen lacerations.

Two patients underwent emergency operations, said Chanda Chacon, the hospital's chief operating officer.

Dr. Todd Maxson, the hospital's chief of trauma medicine, said he expected all of them have full recoveries.

Three other hospitals also received patients, officials said.

Ten all-star teams made the trip to Dallas, said Damous Hailey, coach of the team for 11-year-old players.

Hailey told NBC affiliate WMC of Memphis that the bus set out for home at about 10:30 (11:30 ET) Sunday night.

"All I heard was a swerve, and then it started flipping down one hill, over the service road and down another hill," Hailey said from a wheelchair at the hospital where he was being treated for leg injuries and a bump on his head.

The bus did have seatbelts, "but you know how kids are," he said. "Most of them were asleep."

Hailey said his only priority was to get as many children off the bus as he could. He said he couldn't find his cellphone, so he used one of the children's phones to call 911.

"I was in pain, but I didn't feel no pain because I had to get these kids off this bus, because I didn't know if it was going to blow up with that flipping," he said.