A man in Mississippi suffered a medical emergency before the school bus he was driving crashed, leaving several children injured on a Mississippi highway, according to authorities.
The children were on their way to classes Tuesday morning in Benton County when the bus rolled several times before overturning and ending up in a ditch off Highway 72, Mississippi Highway Patrol said.
“Shortly before 8:30 this morning, we received notice that we would be getting multiple injured children from a bus crash down in Mississippi. We’ve so far received eight children and four of those by air ambulance, two by ground ambulance, and two by private vehicle that were brought in by their parents. They have all been seen, assessed and examined, and we’re currently treating their injuries,” said trauma medical director Regan Williams at a news conference Tuesday at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital.
Williams said that four were going to require admission to the hospital and were considered serious but not critical.
“The other four have very minor or no injuries and will likely go home today,” Williams said.
Mississippi Highway Patrol said the eight students ranged in age from 7-13.
“The driver was pronounced dead at the scene,” Cpl. Jason Roe said during a news conference.
Benton County coroner Larry Hobson told ABC News the official cause of death of the bus driver is “sudden cardiac death.” Hobson said the driver “clutched his chest and slumped over,” according to the students on the bus.
Hobson and Mississippi Highway Patrol identified the bus driver as 63-year-old William Chester Cole. No autopsy will be performed, according to Hobson.
Williams said that none of the children had been ejected from the bus but that they’d sustained their injuries from being bounced around the vehicle during the crash.
David Lloyd said that his daughter, an eighth-grade student, had a broken ankle, leg and jaw but would still survive.
“Just a little devastated but at least the good Lord was with everybody and had their hands on everybody,” Lloyd told ABC News affiliate WATN-TV. “Just keep everybody in thoughts and prayers.”
Superintendent Steve Bostick said that Cole had worked for the school district for about five years.
“He’s one of the most dependable drivers we have in the district and like I said, he’s a very hard-working man,” Bostick told WATV-TV. “I’m sorry that this happened. I give my regards to the family.”
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