The driver of a charter bus that sped off the highway and rolled into a drainage ditch last month, killing a 9-year-old boy and injuring dozens of others, was driving too fast for conditions, Arkansas authorities said.
The charter bus, owned by Flannigan Tours of Southaven, Mississippi, but leased to Scott Shuttle Services, was transporting a youth all-star football team from Dallas home to Memphis when the crash occurred.
Arkansas State Police say the charter bus was traveling east on Interstate 30 on Dec. 3. Driver Eula Jarrett, 65, attempted to get off the highway at the 111 exit ramp. As the charter bus made the exit, it veered off the left side of the ramp, hit a sign, and rolled multiple times before coming to a rest on the driver’s side.
The crash killed 9-year-old Kameron “KamKam” Johnson and 45 others, mostly Memphis school children on the Orange Mound Youth Association football teams.
According to investigators, the charter bus was being operated unsafely and speed was a factor. Authorities cite inattentive, careless, negligent, or erratic operation of the bus contributed to the crash, but did not provide details, according to WMC Channel 5 Memphis.
Although the weather and road were dry at the time of the crash, about 2:40 a.m., authorities said the exit was dark and unlit. Ms. Jarrett tried to slow the bus as it entered the ramp but it was still traveling too fast to safely make the loop.
Investigators said they are still awaiting the results of the driver’s toxicology tests, but said it did not appear that she was driving under the influence.