A school bus rolled over on a Mississippi highway, killing the driver and injuring all eight of the children on board. Four of the children were airlifted to a local hospital and are listed in serious condition. The other four students suffered minor injuries and are expected to be released from the hospital before the end of the day.
Officials believe that the driver, identified as William “Chester” Cole, suffered a cardiac event before losing control of the bus. Benton County Coroner Larry Hobson said the Cole clutched his chest and slumped over the steering wheel before the bus crashed.
“[Cole] was one of the most dependable drivers we had in the district. He was a very hardworking man. I’m sorry this happened. I give my regards to the family,” Benton County Schools Superintendent Steve Bostick said at the scene of the crash.
Officials say Cole had just started his daily route and had only picked up eight students, who were between 7 and 13 years old.
David Loyd, the stepfather of one of the injured students, told WMC-TV that his stepdaughter, 13-year-old Halie Williams, suffered a fractured jaw along with a broken leg and ankle in the crash.
“I’m just going to give her great big old hug and tell her that I’m glad she’s alright,” Loyd told the news station.