BENTON, Ark. - A 9-year-old is dead and dozens of other children were injured after their bus driver lost control and slammed into a ravine on an Arkansas highway.
WHBQ in Memphis, Tennessee, obtained emergency calls from the incident, which shed some light on the moments following the horrific crash. Around 2:40 a.m. Monday, the 911 call went out.
“We are on a van … a bus. Our bus just flipped,” a man tells the 911 dispatcher.
A charter bus filled with children had just overturned on an Arkansas highway – southwest of Little Rock. It was carrying members of the Orange Mound Youth Association football league, which had been in Dallas, Texas for a championship game.
“How many people are hurt?” the dispatcher asked.
“We have kids everywhere,” the coach responded. “We have a lot of kids hurt. I don’t know.”
The Saline County Coroner identified the boy who was killed in the crash as nine-year-old Kameron Johnson. One of his coaches provided WHBQ with a photo.
On the 911 call, children are crying in the background.
“We’re stuck. We’re stuck,” you can hear.
The caller told dispatch nearly half the passengers were stuck inside.
A fire chief on the scene told WHBQ that seven fire departments, at least three helicopters, and as many as 12 ambulances responded.
An excerpt of the 911 call details that chaotic scene of the crash.
“I heard you saying somebody was stuck. Is there somebody stuck inside the bus?”
“Yes. The kids are still on the bus.”
“Are the stuck under something or are you just not able to get the bus open?”
“It’s stuck, flipped, bad.”
“I understand that sir. Now is the door to the bus stuck? Or are they stuck under something inside the bus?”
“They’re stuck inside the bus.”
In total, the Office of Emergency Management said 46 patients went to five Little Rock-area hospitals.
The bus driver was thrown through the window. The caller described what he saw in detail to the dispatcher.
“The bus driver is stuck out the window."
“The bus driver is stuck out the window? He’s hanging out the window?”
“Is (she) awake or is (she) unconscious?”
“Did (she) go through the window?”
“And she’s stuck halfway in it?”
The driver told Arkansas State Police she lost control of the bus. The bus crashed on an off ramp – getting off the bus’s intended route.
The speed limit on that exit is 25.
WHBQ was the only station there as the bus was towed to an impound lot for further investigation.
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