- Three of those killed were ejected from the bus, officials say
- There's no indication the driver of the bus was impaired by alcohol or drugs, a State Police Highway Patrol official says
- The bus, operated by a citrus and hauling company, was heading to Texas from Michigan
Arkansas State Police Director Bill Bryant told reporters Friday morning that six others who were injured had been treated and released from nearby hospitals.
Light rain was falling, but not pooling on the ground, when the accident occurred around 1 a.m. (2 a.m. ET) along Interstate 40 westbound in North Little Rock, State Police Highway Patrol Maj. Mike Foster said. The driver hit a barrier on the right side that separates the highway from a frontage road, then kept going before hitting an overpass.
"Why he did that is still under investigation," Foster said.
There is no indication the 28-year-old driver, who had a Michigan driver's license and was among those hurt, was impaired by alcohol or drugs at the time of the crash, the Highway Patrol major added.
The bus he was driving had set off from Monroe, Michigan, for Laredo, Texas. It carried three employees of a Florida-based citrus and hauling company, including the driver, plus 19 passengers.
While the driver spoke English, many of the passengers did not. Foster said it was his understanding they were Spanish speakers. State troopers are working with federal authorities and Mexican Consulate officials to notify the next of kin of those killed, police said.
The Red Cross responded early Friday to provide blankets, coffee and help set up hotel rooms for some of those who'd been on the bus, said spokeswoman Brigette Williams.
"We are in the process of providing mental health support for them," she said.
Dan Straessle, a spokesman for the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department, said the struck overpass suffered cosmetic but not serious structural damage.