Arkansas State Police said the wreck happened at 2.40am at 111 mile marker along Interstate 30 near Benton, about 25 miles southwest of Little Rock, as the bus carried the team from Texas to Memphis, Tennessee.
One child is dead and at least 40 other individuals, a lot of them children, are reported to be injured, as the result of a bus crash west of Benton early this morning.
Troopers say the bus was traveling from North Texas to Memphis, Tennessee when it left the roadway, went down an embankment and overturned several times. 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.
The injured children, who range in age from 9 to 12, were taken to hospitals in nearby Benton and Little Rock, police said.
No information was immediately released about the severity of the injuries. By the time first responders arrived numerous players -who were between the ages of eight and 13 years old - and their chaperones were already off the bus, state police spokesman Bill Sadler stated. It is unknown how many of those injured are children and how many are adult chaperones.
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Three other hospitals also received patients, officials said. A spokeswoman said she couldn't provide any details, citing privacy laws.
It is unclear if seat belts were provided. The bus crashed into an oncoming tractor-trailer truck.
The community was created after the Civil War by and for African-Americans, and black-owned businesses flourished there until desegregation enabled residents to live elsewhere.
WHBQ reported that the vast majority of patients were taken to two hospitals: Arkansas Children's Hospital and Saline Memorial. Prosecutors said the driver was on the phone at the time of the crash.