Fatalities have been reported after a charter bus carrying junior college football players from the Rock Hill area wrecked near Rockingham Saturday afternoon, CBS-affiliate WNCN reported.
Forty to 50 people were injured when the bus hit an overpass column on U.S. 74 near N.C. 177 at about 3:20 p.m., multiple media outlets reported.
“Some fatalities” occurred, Chief Calvin White of Hamlet Fire and Rescue told the Richmond County Daily Dispatch.
WSOC-TV reported that four people died in the crash. WNCN reported that the crash was caused by tire failure on the front wheel, according to State Troopers.
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All of the injured were taken to area hospitals. According to the Richmond County Daily Dispatch, Ellen Cooper from FirstHealth said three of the eight patients at Richmond Memorial were taken to Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, one by air, two by ground. Three others discharged and two others remain in treatment in serious condition.
The Rock Hill area students play for a football team called Ramah Junior College. Jim Terry, who recruits players for the team in Fayetteville that Ramah was scheduled to play, University of God’s Chosen. WNCN reported that the team was scheduled to play 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."
The teams consist of junior college students who want to play football but don’t attend a school that has a team, Terry told WNCN.
The Herald contacted a person who claimed to be affiliated with the University of God's Chosen Disciples in Raeford, N.C., but he declined to confirm if any of the players or coaches from Rock Hill were killed or injured in the crash.
"I will not confirm anything that deals with the death of a child," the man said, adding he was leaving the hospital and did not know any details.
U.S. 74 is expected to remain closed into Saturday night as troopers investigate the wreck, according to the N.C. Department of Transportation.
Rockingham is about 70 miles east of Charlotte.