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School bus driver killed, 8 students injured in crash off Mississippi highway

A Mississippi school bus driver died when his bus went off a highway Tuesday morning and rolled into a ditch, officials said. Four students injured in the crash were listed in serious but not critical condition at a Tennessee hospital.

The bus went off Highway 72 and rolled over several times, Mississippi Highway Patrol Captain Johnny Poulos told CBS News. No other vehicles were involved in the crash.

The bus was transporting students for the Benton County School District. Superintendent Steve Bostick identified the driver to CBS affiliate WREG-TV as Chester Cole. 

Crews work the scene of a deadly school bus crash in Benton County, Mississippi, on September, 10, 2019.
Crews work the scene of a deadly school bus crash in Benton County, Mississippi, on September, 10, 2019. WREG-TV

Cole apparently suffered a heart attack, which caused him to drive off the road, Bostick told WREG-TV. Cole was at the beginning of his bus route when the crash happened.

The students on the bus ranged in age from 7 to 13, Bostick told the station. Eight children were transported to Le Bonheur Children's Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, for treatment.

Four children were listed in serious but not critical condition and had to be admitted, Dr. Regan Williams, the hospital's medical director of trauma, told reporters at a press conference. She said she couldn't describe their injuries but estimated their recovery time to range between one and 10 days.

The other four children had minor injuries and were expected to go home Tuesday, Williams said. Benton County sits along the Mississippi-Tennessee state line and is about 50 miles from Memphis.

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