Emergency crews respond to a wrecked church bus with at least 12 people on board. (Photo: Dustin Wilson, KTHV)
MORRILTON, Ark. (KTHV) - 12 people injured after a church bus wrecks in Conway County Tuesday morning.
Larry Miller with the Petit Jean Country Headlight said a bus from the Lonoke Missionary Baptist Church wrecked just south of Morrilton, near the Arkansas River Bridge on Highway 9.
"They call themselves the golden girls and it's a group of senior ladies who do all things together as far as the church," says Jim Goodman, a member of the church.
Goodman's mother was in the accident and he says she should be okay, but the others could have serious injuries. Conway County Sheriff Mike Smith says a helicopter took two women to Little Rock and an ambulance transported another woman from the Morrilton hospital to Little Rock for head trauma.
The bus driver told Sheriff Smith he passed out, moments after feeling ill.
"He was looking for a place to pull over and said that's about all he remembers after that," says Smith.
"It come off the road there and traveled I'm going to guess about 500 foot," says Smith
Then a hero emerged. 48-year-old Kim Gifford crawled through the van to get to the driver, whose foot was stuck on the accelerator. She couldn't brake to a stop, so she turned off the engine.
The wreck jammed the door, so emergency crews had to cut it off to get to the passengers. The group was headed to the Perry County Nursing home to sing Christmas carols. Jim Goodman is thankful the wreck wasn't much worse.
"It stayed on all four wheels. I hate to think of what could've happened had the bus actually rolled over," says Goodman.
Out of the 12 on the bus, two women were flown to Little Rock with injuries; one has a broken arm and leg and the other a broken leg. One women suffered a head injury and yet another is being treated for a punctured lung and broken ribs. The rest of the passengers suffered minor injuries and are home.