ACKERMAN, MS (WLBT) – An 18 wheeler collided with a Choctaw County school bus carrying Ackerman students returning from Oxford.
Three lives were lost and the small town of Ackerman is in mourning, but grateful for the lives that were spared.
A Choctaw Co. school bus dangled over the Yalobusha River Bridge on Highway 9 in Calhoun Co. after state troopers reported that it was hit head on by a tractor trailer.
It was 1 of 2 buses traveling south returning from Ole Miss around 2:30 Tuesday afternoon.
Ackerman teacher Phyllis Graham, 53 of Eupora, the bus driver, coach and teacher Steven Moss, 40 of Ackerman, as well as 18 wheeler driver Gary Bailey, 54 of Mantachie, were killed.
According to Choctaw County School officials, 62 Ackerman High School seniors were on board the buses.
Seven were transported to area hospitals with non-life threatening injuries.
One student was air lifted.
"They announced it over the intercom," said Ackerman High sophomore Abby Wood. "We were all upset and started crying."
Wood said her brother, Austin Davis, was on board the ill fated bus.
"He flew over some seats and he lost his phone, and he has a scratch on his knee maybe, I'm not sure." Wood said. "He's still trying to get through. He's trying to find his phone, but he's ok besides that."
"As horrible as it is, it's not as bad as it could have been," Ackerman Mayor Dick Cain said.
Senior Kaitlin Lawrence, Mayor Cain's granddaughter, was among the students returning from career day at Ole Miss and phoned her family immediately.
"To call her dad and tell him about the wreck," said Mayor Cain. "I don't know which bus she was on, but they were fine. That a lot of the kids were hurt, but they were fine."
The mayor said news spread quickly through the small close knit town of about 1,800.
The flags at Ackerman High School were flying at half staff Tuesday night.
Black ribbons adorned the doors.
"It's going to be hard," Choctaw County School Board President Linda McDaniel said. "The students are going to have a lot to cope with in the next while. We're getting through it with the Lord's help."
"We just thank everybody for their support,"said Choctaw County School Board member Mike Thomas. "Phones have been ringing off the hook, other school districts calling, state office calling just offering their support us and we certainly appreciate it."
A prayer vigil was held at the Baptist church in Ackerman Tuesday night for Mrs. Graham and Coach Moss.
Students at the high school said they will wear black to classes Wednesday in remembrance of them.
Officials with the Mississippi Highway Patrol said the driver of the tractor trailer scraped the side of the first bus before crashing into the bus behind it.
The cause of accident is still under investigation.
While you were sleeping, the Internet never stopped… Here's what's trending today. Mobile user? Click here: Wasp nest built on window What would you do if you saw this on your window? It's like somethingMore >>
While you were sleeping, the Internet never stopped. Here's what's trending today.More >>
Monday, September 15 2014 10:55 PM EDT2014-09-16 02:55:55 GMT
Boone Police Officers received a call about the discovery of a dead body around 10:30 a.m. Saturday morning. The body was found in a wooded area adjacent to Poplar Grove Road near Appalachian State University. PoliceMore >>
The body was found in a wooded area adjacent to Poplar Grove Road near Appalachian State University.More >>
Tuesday, September 16 2014 7:31 AM EDT2014-09-16 11:31:48 GMT
(WMC) - A teen who pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the shooting death of this 10-year-old sister will serve several years in a Tennessee Department of Corrections Youth Facility. The teen, whoMore >>
A teen who pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the shooting death of his 10-year-old sister will serve several years in a Tennessee Department of Corrections Youth Facility.More >>
Monday, September 15 2014 5:39 PM EDT2014-09-15 21:39:25 GMT
Horrific details of a southern Indiana homicide were released Monday, including allegations that Joseph Oberhansley ate portions of Tammy Jo Blanton's brain, heart and lungs after stabbing her to death.More >>
Horrific details of a southern Indiana homicide were released Monday, including allegations that Joseph Oberhansley ate portions of Tammy Jo Blanton's brain, heart and lungs after stabbing her to death. More >>
Tuesday, September 16 2014 8:30 PM EDT2014-09-17 00:30:17 GMT
Lincoln County Sheriff Steve Rushing says his office is working a death pending case, involving two bodies found Monday afternoon.Family members went by to check on a mother and son and found both of themMore >>
The cause of death for the Lincoln Co. mother and son is still unknown. An update is provided.
Tuesday, September 16 2014 3:37 PM EDT2014-09-16 19:37:13 GMT
We're trying to get more information now on a body found in Jackson this morning. We have few details available, but JPD confirms a man was found dead around 5 am at I-55 North, near Beasley Road andMore >>
We have few details available, but JPD confirms a man was found dead around 5 am at I-55 North and Beasley Road.
Tuesday, September 16 2014 5:41 PM EDT2014-09-16 21:41:22 GMT
MPD: Woman wearing bra and panties, carrying bat caught trespassing at elementary school A woman wearing her bra and panties is accused of running into the cafeteria at Westside elementary school andMore >>
A woman wearing her bra and panties is accused of running into the cafeteria at Westside elementary school and causing a bizarre disturbance just before more than a hundred children were due to come in for lunch. More >>
Tuesday, September 16 2014 10:11 AM EDT2014-09-16 14:11:21 GMT
An 18-year-old University of Virginia student has been missing since Saturday and police are concerned about her safety. Hannah Elizabeth Graham sent her friends a text message around 1:20 a.m. on Saturday,More >>
An 18-year-old University of Virginia student has been missing since Saturday and police are concerned about her safety.More >>
WLBT 3 - Fox 40
715 South Jefferson Street
Jackson, Mississippi 39201