Students, coaches injured in bus accident released from hospitals

By LAKEADRA COFFEY,

MCCARLEY – Monday afternoon, a Greenwood Public School District bus carrying football players and coaches westbound on Highway 82 overturned in McCarley. One student was airlifted to a hospital in Jackson and several students were transported by MedStat from the scene to local hospitals.

Greenwood Public Schools Director of Communications Margaret Dean said Monday night that all the students and coaches had been released from the various hospitals.

According to Mississippi Highway Patrol Troop D Public Affairs Sgt. Ronald Shive, the incident occurred around 12:45 p.m. Shive said several Troopers responded to a one-vehicle bus accident on Highway 82 near the McCarley Junction.

He said the driver Clinton Gatewood, 47, of Greenwood was driving westbound on Highway 82 in a Carroll County in a school bus with 39 students on board when he lost control of the vehicle.  Gatewood’s bus exited the roadway north of the westbound lane before the driver overcorrected. 

Shive said afterwards, the bus traveled back across both lanes onto the shoulder south of the westbound lane before the driver overcorrected a second time.  As a result, the bus went into a skid before overturning on its side.

Carroll County Emergency Management and Civil Defense Director Ken Strachan said dispatchers received reports of the accident at 12:49 p.m.  No other vehicle appeared to be involved in the accident.

Strachan said members of the Greenwood High School football team and coaches were traveling westbound on Highway 82 toward Greenwood from Starkville where they had recently finished a weekend football camp when the incident took place.

Dean said Monday 11 students and three adults were treated at Greenwood Leflore, six students were treated at Tyler Holmes Memorial Hospital in Winona, and three were taken to the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Grenada. She said one was airlifted to North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo.

She said many of their students are shaken up from the incident.

“Some of them have sprains, cuts or bruises. I think one has a sprained arm and another has a sprained knee but all were checked out,” she said.

“We are thankful for the hospital staff Greenwood-Leflore Hospital, Tyler Holmes and UMMC-Grenada acted quickly and they are making sure that are students are being taken care of and we’re receiving regular updates. We are very thankful for their assistance,” she said, shortly after the accident.

Dean said some of the students were transported by personal vehicles and some by MedStat.

“[We] appreciate everyone else’s help, all of the first responders, the highway patrol, sheriff’s department, police department, all law enforcement officers on scene that assisted us, all the parents that showed up on scene. We’re thankful.”

Parents and loved ones gathered at the scene on Highway 82 to pick up their children as troopers with the Mississippi Highway Patrol, deputies with the Carroll County Sheriff’s Department, Winona Chief of Police Tommy Bibbs and Captain Dan Herod were also on scene as the Mississippi Highway Patrol and Mississippi Department of Transportation worked to clear the highway.

Those on scene gave comfort to many who were in disbelief.

Sheriff Clint Walker, Chief Deputy Adam Eubanks, Strachan, Montgomery County Emergency Management and Civil Defense Director Alan Pratt and Herod prayed with parents and officials of the Greenwood Public School District as many stood around and watched the bus, pulled by Bond Wrecker Service, tilt back upright.

One side of the bus was caved in, the hood and light in front mangled, and oil marked the spot where the bus rested.

“It’s a sad, sad situation,” one man said. “I’m just thankful that no one else was really hurt.” He added that there could have been more injuries than the ones sustained.

Westbound traffic was diverted into the eastbound lane as workers worked to clear the scene. Many stood on a hill and watched as the bus was tilted back on its side and one man cried as he watched.

Strachan said the wreck is still being investigated by the Mississippi Highway Patrol and assisted by the Carroll County Sheriff’s Department.

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