A third grader was killed and at least 45 people were injured when a charter bus carrying youth football players from Tennessee rolled off an interstate and overturned before sunrise Monday in central Arkansas, authorities said. Arkansas State Police said about 25 miles southwest of Little Rock. Police said most of the injured were children and that they were taken to hospitals in Little Rock and Benton. The elementary-school age players from Orange Mound Youth Association in southeast Memphis were returning home after playing in a tournament in the Dallas area over the weekend, according to Memphis TV station WMC. Orange Mound is a historically black neighborhood that unites around its highly competitive youth football program, per the AP.
Damous Hailey, who was one of about half a dozen adults on the bus, told the Commercial Appeal that the bus swerved then flipped "about 15 or 20 times," before stopping at the foot of a hill. "I was holding on, trying to make sure I didn't get thrown out." At a news conference, Nickalous Manning, superintendent of Aspire Public Schools, said "this is going to be a loss that's going to be hard to heal from." Images from the scene showed the heavily damaged bus on its side on an embankment near some dense woodland, just at the crook of a sharp bend in the road. The bus was hoisted upright and pulled from the scene late Monday morning. The bus driver was being questioned by troopers. (Read more bus crash stories.)