SALINE COUNTY, AR (WMC) - A crash report from Arkansas State Police says a charter bus was traveling too fast for conditions when it flipped near Little Rock last month, killing a 9-year-old passenger and injuring dozens more.
The bus was carrying members of the Orange Mound Youth Association football teams as they returned from a tournament in Texas that weekend. One of the young players, 9-year-old Kameron Johnson, died in the crash and another 45 passengers sustained varying injuries.
The bus was owned by Flannigan Tours in Southaven, Mississippi but leased by Scott Shuttle Services.
According to the report, the bus was traveling eastbound on I-30 around 2:40 a.m. when Jarrett tried to turn at the 111 exit ramp. The report says Jarrett tried to slow down but ended up leaving the roadway on the left side, hitting a road sign and a drainage ditch.
The bus overturned and came to a rest on the driver’s side. The report says Jarrett was partially ejected during the crash.
In the report, investigators said conditions were clear and the road was dry at the time of the crash, but the area was dark and unlit. Blood tests were performed but investigators noted that Jarrett did not appear impaired. The results are pending.
The report cites unsafe operation at the time of the crash, specifically inattentive, careless, negligent or erratic operation. It also indicates investigators believe the crash was speed-related and Jarrett was driving too fast for conditions.
Serita Applewhite and her two boys were on the bus when it crashed.
She was taking a phone call when she says the bus started moving back and forth.
“I was like ‘let me call you back, she's swerving’ and next thing I know we was going around a curve and over we went,” Applewhite said.
Once the bus flipped, she said kids were screaming for help.
“Debris was flying everywhere, it was like something you’d see in a horror movie,” Applewhite said.
Applewhite said Jarrett appeared stunned after the crash.
“She was awake, she was conscious, like she might have been crying and was trying to figure out what happened,” Applewhite said.
Applewhite said she talked to Jarrett before the group left Memphis and Jarrett said she was looking forward to the trip.
She said her children, ages 13, and 7, are still haunted by the tragedy.
“They relive it like it happened yesterday, it’s to the point where they don’t want to ride buses they just want to go by car,” Applewhite said.
Applewhite said her children’s physical injuries pale in comparison to the mental anguish of the crash.
“It’s hard to tell a child it’s going to be OK,” Applewhite said. “It’s not going to be OK because that’s something they will always remember because they are of age to remember what happened.”
WMC5 went to Jarrett's home in Brownsville on Friday morning, but she was not there.
Investigators noted in the report the case would be turned over to prosecutors once Jarrett’s toxicology results are in.
“At this point, it’s hard to say,” Applewhite said. “No one wants to see someone that age in jail but a life was lost and there are others that were critically injured.”