For the Daily News
At about 2 p.m. Tuesday, the Mississippi Highway Patrol was dispatched to a three-vehicle crash involving two Choctaw County School Buses and a Semi-Tractor/Trailer.
The early afternoon crash occurred on Miss. Highway 8 (a rural, two-lane highway) about one mile west of Calhoun City in Calhoun County.
Upon arriving it appeared Gary T Bailey, 54, of Mantachie, was traveling East on Miss. Highway 8, operating a 2010 International, semi-tractor/trailer, when apparently his vehicle and a 2000 International School Bus, operated by Shane Burton,40, of Ackerman, side- swiped each other.
The semi-tractor/trailer and a second school bus, operated by Steven B Moss, 37, of Ackerman, then collided head-on.
Both school buses were traveling west on Miss. Highway 8 when the collision occurred.
The buses were carrying seniors from Ackerman High School and were returning from a campus visit at the University of Mississippi.
Bailey, the driver of the semi-tractor/trailer, and Moss, driver of the second school bus, were fatally injured in the accident. Moss was a teacher and coach at Ackerman High School.
Phyllis Graham, 53, of Eupora, MS, also a teacher from Ackerman High School, received fatal injuries in the wreck. She was a passenger in the bus operated by Moss .
Burton, driver of the first school bus, received minor injuries in the accident.
There were approximately 57 students traveling between the two buses. Approximately 17 of the students were carried to local hospitals by ambulance, private vehicles and one student was air-lifted to North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo, MS. None of the students appear to have received life-threaten injuries in the crash. Students were carried to hospitals in Eupora, Houston, Oxford, Calhoun City, and Tupelo.
Traffic came to a halt on Miss. Highway 8 as crews worked for about six hours until the crash scene could be cleared.
The accident remains under investigation by the Mississippi Highway Patrol.
The Choctaw County School District will conduct a press conference at the Central Office in Ackerman, , at 10 a.m. today.
Tom Burnham, Mississippi’s superintendent of education, said in a statement that the Calhoun County Fire Department was working with school districts and the University of Mississippi and Mississippi State University to provide counselors for students and teachers.