CHICOT COUNTY, Ark. – The death toll in a southeast Arkansas bus crash has now risen to 5 after a van carrying 9 people collided with an 18-wheeler.

Investigators say just after 2:45 pm Monday, a C. B. King bus, a center focused on adults with developmental delays, was traveling westbound on AR-35 when it attempted to cross the southbound lane of Highway 65.

There is a yield sign where the two roadways meet, and Arkansas State Police officials believe the bus failed to stop for oncoming traffic when it pulled into the lane.

That’s when they say an 18-wheeler traveling southbound on 65 collided with the front of the bus, sending both vehicles off the road and into a ditch. 5 of the bus’s passengers were killed ranging in age from 19 to 73, and another 5 were injured.

Those in Dermott only a mile away say the intersection is known to be dangerous.

“They’ve had more accidents out there than they have had anywhere around here,” one Dermott neighbor who wished to remain anonymous said. “A friend of mine got killed out there and another friend of mine lost his mother out there.”

The resident explained ARDOT had conducted a study in 2017 re-doing the intersection, but many feel more work needs to be done – specifically, a new stoplight system to fully halt traffic.

“You could make it a stoplight where it stayed on a long time on highway 65 and a short time on highway 35 and it probably would work,” the man said. “Maybe there’s an improvement they can make, and I hope they do.”