One child was killed and at least 45 other people were injured when a charter bus carrying a youth football team from Tennessee rolled off an interstate off-ramp and overturned before sunrise Monday in central Arkansas, authorities said.
The elementary-school age football team from Orange Mound Youth Association in southeast Memphis had played in a tournament in Dallas over the weekend, according to Memphis TV station WMC. Orange Mound is a historically black neighborhood that unites around its youth football teams, where kids train to be part of the highly competitive Melrose High School squad.
“On behalf of all Memphians, our hearts and prayers go out to the Orange Mound children and their families involved in this morning’s tragic bus accident in Arkansas,” Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland said in a statement.
Sports teams and coaches believed affiliated with the organization have not returned phone calls and emails from The Associated Press Monday morning.
Arkansas State Police said the bus crashed along Interstate 30 near Benton, about 25 southwest of Little Rock, while traveling back to Memphis, Tennessee. Police said most of the injured were children who were taken to hospitals in Little Rock and Benton.
No information has been released about the severity of the injuries, and authorities haven’t talked about what caused the crash that happened under the cloak of darkness. Live video from the scene shows the heavily damaged bus on its side in an embankment near some dense woodland, just at the crook of a sharp bend in the road.
Police said the bus driver was being questioned by troopers.