One child was killed and several dozen others were injured early Monday when a bus carrying a youth football team ran off Interstate 30 in Arkansas and overturned, authorities said.
It happened before 2:45 a.m. near mile marker 111, which is west of Benton.
Arkansas State Police say the bus with adults and children on board was traveling from Texas to Memphis, Tenn. after an all-star team played in a championship game in Dallas.
The bus driver told investigators that she lost control of the vehicle before it rolled off the highway.
At least 45 people were said to be injured, and most of those were children, police said. They were taken to hospitals in Little Rock and Benton.
Various media outlets identified Kameron Johnson, 9, of Memphis as the child who died in the accident and JT Bragaw, a coach and director for the Tipton County Crush youth football team, confirmed the name.
Arkansas Children's Hospital received 26 patients from the Saline County bus crash. The injured were youth aged 9 to 13 years old.
Arkansas Children's Health System Surgeon in Chief and Trauma Medical Director Todd Maxson said the injuries they treated were primarily fractures and lacerations.
"We had significant fractures, skull fractures and some organ injuries," Maxson said. "We had a lots of lacerations and lots of broken bones."
Maxson said all patients in their care were in stable condition and 22 of the children had already been discharged to their families. Four of the victims have been admitted to the hospital.
Maxson said the hospital was prepared for the event.
"I knew we were ready," he said. "This is what my team does."
Rebecca Jones, a spokeswoman for Saline Memorial Hospital, said the medical facility treated 13 children, who had all been discharged by Monday afternoon.
Video from the scene showed the heavily damaged bus on its side in an embankment near an exit that has a sharp curve leaving the interstate.
The bus was carrying a football team from the Orange Mound Youth Association in Tennessee that had played in a tournament in Dallas over the weekend. The children were reported to be elementary-school age.
Coach speaks outside hospital
Bragaw said the child who died was a member of his team. Several other Tipton County Crush players were also on the bus.
Bragaw believes this accident will bring the Memphis football teams together.
"We are now a family," he said.
Bragaw said he had just gotten back to his home in Memphis when he learned of the crash.
"When I got the call I thought I was dreaming," Bragaw said outside of Arkansas Children's Hospital while wearing an Orange Mound Youth Association hoodie. "I was sick. It felt like a fantasy and to be honest it still does. I am still in a daze."Gallery: I-30 bus crash
He said the Tipton County Crush joined 11 other Memphis based-teams to form an elite travel team through the Orange Mound Youth Association.
Around 250 kids from the Memphis area traveled to Dallas to play in the football tournament. Bragaw said the team had been in Texas since Friday.
"A lot of these kids never had the opportunity to leave Memphis, and they got to go all the way to Dallas," Bragaw said.
The coach said two buses, four vans and multiple vehicles were part of a caravan heading back to Memphis. He said the second bus made it back home without incident.
Bragaw called the accident horrific.
"You can imagine what happened when these kids were thrown around when their bus went flying at 50 mph into the forest," Bragaw said.
Brandon Futch, assistant fire chief with the Bryant Fire Department, said multiple fire departments were sent to the scene because it was considered a "potential mass casualty situation."
Bill Ford, chief of the Benton Fire Department, said his agency and the Turtle Creek Fire Department were among the first on scene.
He said their primary duty at that point was helping victims out of the crashed vehicle.
"The bus was on its side when we arrived, so we had to make entry through the roof and through exposed windows, but primarily through the roof," Ford said.
Ford said firefighters used cutters to tear open the bus roof before removing passengers through the hole.
"We of course try to comfort people when doing this, but our primary job is to get them out," Ford said.
Ford said he has never seen a crash like this before.
"I imagine the first unit on scene arrived and realized he needed a lot of resources," Ford said. "They radioed back to the county who put in the request for all units."
The bus is owned by Scott Shuttle Service of Somerville, Tennessee.
Read Tuesday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.