ROCKINGHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — A charter bus wreck killed four people and injured dozens from a South Carolina football squad and closed the US-74 bypass in Richmond County on Saturday afternoon.
The four killed victims in the crash have been identified by the North Carolina Highway Patrol:
- Brian Andre Kirkpatrick, 43, of 685 Charity Road, Chester, S.C.
- Devonte Gibson, 21, of Rock Hill, S.C.
- Teto Hamilton, 19, of Pahokee, F.L.
- Darice Hicks, 10, Rock Hill, S.C.
The crash happened around 2:30 p.m. near Hamlet, according to NC State Highway Patrol.
Forty two people were taken to various hospitals. Their injuries ranged from minor to critical.
The crash happened when a front left tire on the bus failed in a blowout, the N.C. Highway Patrol told CBS North Carolina.
The charter bus was carrying a group of college students from the Rock Hill, S.C. area who were playing for a football team called Ramah Jucco Academy, according to Jim Terry, who works recruiting players for the opposing team in Fayetteville, University of God’s Chosen.
University of God’s Chosen was set to play the Ramah team on Saturday afternoon at Lake Rim Park in Fayetteville, Terry said. Both teams are made up of junior or community college students who wish to play football, but don’t attend a school that has a team.
Many of the players on the Ramah team are from Clinton College in Rock Hill, S.C., according to Lt. Jeff Gordon of the N.C. Highway Patrol.
Photos of the crash scene showed a large bus that was damaged heavily on the driver’s side after apparently crashing into an overpass column.
Ellen Cooper with FirstHealth Hospital told the Richmond County Daily Journal that 8 patients from the bus wreck were in serious condition at FirstHealth Richmond Memorial Hospital. Two others were airlifted to UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill, officials told CBS North Carolina.
Ramah Jucco Academy’s website says their program is new and that “we require that Ramah student athletes attend one of the local community colleges in the area.”
Highway Patrol says the highway will be closed for several more hours as troopers continue their investigation.