Hwy. 63 bus/car collision kills 5

By Stan Morris - e-mail | twitter

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - A bus collides head-on with a car, killing 5 and sending several others to the hospital.

It happened around 2:30 PM Wednesday next to Exit 36 north of Bay.

Emergency officials and area police responded to the scene near the Nestle Road exit, where a special needs bus from the Focus, Inc. company collided head on with a red Chrysler PT Cruiser that was, according to witnesses and police, driving down the wrong side of the road.

The Craighead County Coroner's office and Arkansas State Police confirm that 4 people in the bus and the driver have died.

The victims are identified as Heath Bakken, 28 of Jonesboro, Angela Austin, 26 of Trumann, Anthony Vaughn, 25 of Jonesboro, Michael Lane, 34 of Jonesboro, and Gerald Brown, 56 of Jonesboro.  Bakken was the driver of the PT cruiser that was traveling southbound in the northbound lanes of the road.  Austin was the driver of the Focus, INC van.  Vaughn, Lane, and Brown were passengers in the van.

Others injured and taken to area hospitals in the accident include Jonathan Vaughn, 29, Regina James, 34, Steve Farmer, 41, Keenan Wilson, 36, and Brian Parnell, 32 all of Jonesboro and all passengers in the van.

According to Focus, Inc., the bus was on their way back from Trumann, heading to Jonesboro.

Highway 63's northbound lane was closed for about 4 hours, reopening just before 6:30 PM.

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