LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Arkansas State Police investigators are working to get the moments before a Memphis charter bus crashed tracked down to the second. They also want to hear from the young victims as they recover from the shock of the deadly crash. As of Tuesday, four patients were listed as stable at Arkansas Children’s Hospital.
“I was scared because everybody was bleeding and I had raw blood all over my t-shirt before I changed at the hospital,” said Ty'Jier Terrell said. “I woke up when I felt something hit my head. That's why I have this mark now where it goes, I think, two inches deep.”
Terrell was describing the horror as he, and some 50 other fellow football players and coaches, realized their charter bus had just flipped off Interstate 30 at the off-ramp to U.S. 70. The crash killed 9-year-old Kameron Johnson and sent 45 others to the hospital.
The driver of The Scott Shuttle Service bus, identified as 65-year-old Eula Jarrett, said she lost control in the Exit 111 interchange while traveling back to Memphis after a tournament in Dallas.
“The coaches were trying to keep everybody calm and I think we had to get out the emergency window which was on the roof,” Ty’Jier said as his mother looked on.
A spokesman for the Arkansas State Police said the investigation is in its very early stages. Highway department alerts indicate the crash is at least the fifth incident in that part of the highway in the last two years, but the first on that specific off-ramp.
Kameron's death is also the fifth fatality in or near the interchange since 2005 according to state records. Circumstances were different in each case.
Meanwhile, support is pouring in from Little Rock back across the Mississippi.
“Man, people on social media have stepped up,” said Reggie Swinton, a former NFL player and coach of the Arkansas Lions youth team 24 hours after asking fellow coaches and families to help out. “Right now as we stand we're at about $38,00 that's been raised for the family of young Kameron.”
Swinton hopes to deliver that money right to Kameron's mother to avoid any impropriety. There is also a drive underway in Memphis by the local school district.