BENTON, ARCH. – A charter bus carrying a youth football team from Tennessee crashed early in downtown Arkansas and killed a child and injured at least 45 other people, according to the authorities.
The state police in Arkansas said the bus was crossed by Interstate 30 near Benton, about 25 miles southwest of Little Rock, when the bus carried the team from Texas to Memphis, Tennessee. The police said that most injured were children taken to a hospital in Little Rock and Benton.
No information was immediately released about the severity of the damage. Live video from the scene shows the heavily injured bus on its side in a deck near an exit that has a sharp curve that leaves the interstate. The police said the bus driver was questioned by soldiers.
The football team was from the Orange Mound Youth Association in Tennessee and had played in a Dallas tournament this weekend, according to Memphis TV station WMC. The TV station reports that the children are elementary school age.
Orange Mound is a historic black neighborhood in southeast Memphis, gathering around its youth football teams, where children train to be part of the highly competitive Melrose High School squad. The community was created after the civil war by and for African Americans, and black-owned companies flourished there until desegregation allowed residents to live elsewhere.
Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock said it had 24 patients after the morning crash. The hospital said that all patients were in stable condition, but no further information about the injuries was released. The hospital said it has created a family center so parents can reunite with their children.