9-year-old Memphis boy killed in charter bus crash identified; almost 50 kids injured

A Memphis elementary school student who was killed in a charter bus crash Monday in Saline County, Arkansas, has been identified  by the county coroner.

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Kameron Johnson, 9 – known by family and friends as Kam Kam – died in the accident and almost 50 others were injured when the bus carrying a youth football team home from the Dallas-Fort Worth area crashed on Interstate 30 early Monday morning.

Kameron was a third-grade student at Aspire Coleman Elementary School. The district released the following statement.

It is with a heavy heart that we share unfortunate news about Aspire Public School Memphis scholars who were involved in a tragic accident. This morning, a bus carrying a youth Orange Mound Football team crashed outside of Little Rock, Arkansas. We have confirmed with family members that at least four Aspire scholars were on that bus. The one fatality was an Aspire scholar.

In a news conference Monday afternoon, the district said three of its students were treated at an Arkansas hospital, but one of them lost his life.

“Just full of life. Full of energy. Full of potential,” Aspire Public Schools Supt. Dr. Nickalous Manning said when asked about Kam Kam. “It’s hard to put into words what the future had for him. He’s definitely a young person who is near and dear to our hearts.”

Dr. Manning said the young man made a profound impact on everyone he met, and the loss is hitting those close to him extremely hard.

“You could see it on their face what this young person meant to them, to the community, to teachers, and the adults here,” he said.

Original story: The crash happened around 2:40 a.m. CST at mile marker 111 in Saline County, just west of Benton, according to Arkansas State Police. Investigators told WHBQ the bus driver lost control of the vehicle, causing it to roll off the interstate and overturn.


The bus was carrying the OMYA Elite youth football team from the Orange Mound neighborhood of Memphis, Tennessee, WHBQ reported. The group was returning home after an all-star game in Dallas.

The child killed in Monday's crash was a student at Aspire Coleman Elementary school, school district officials told WHBQ. Children on the bus Monday morning were between the ages of 8 and 12, the news station reported.

At least 44 people were taken to area hospitals after the crash, including 20 people who were taken to the Arkansas Children's Hospital emergency room, WHBQ reported.

The bus driver survived the crash and is being questioned, police said.

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– WHBQ in Memphis, Tennessee, contributed to this report.

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