Feb 17, 2014 6:27 PM by Dave Fields

Bus Crash Update: Two older kids in SUV are H.L. Bourgeois football players

The two oldest children in the vehicle that crashed into a Lafayette Parish School bus in Centerville, La., were both football players at H.L. Bourgeois High School in Gray, La., and Monday, it was learned that the oldest has been released from the hospital.

Mark Cheatham, a junior at Bourgeois, was restrained by safety belts, and is the lone survivor in the Kia Sorrento driven by Ladonna Cheatham, 36. Cheatham's brother, Markus, also a junior at the same school, was not restrained and did not survive the crash. Dwayne Escort, 14, and Destiny Cheatham, 6, also did not survive Saturday's collision that occurred when one the Kia's tires suffered a blowout, causing the vehicle to cross the center median and collide head-on into the bus carrying the Lafayette High School baseball team en route to a scrimmage.

Bourgeois High counselors informed KATC that special meetings were held Monday at the beginnings of each of the Cheatham boys' classes. Counselors said they also met with the entire football team, offering the players and their families an opportunity for counseling.

"We gave the kids the facts that everybody is experiencing this tragedy," said Donna Boudreaux, senior counselor for the school. Boudreaux said she emphasized to the football team that the Cheathams' vehicle collided with a bus carrying another team (LHS baseball team), and that both teams and schools now share a a bond that ties them together as they cope with this tragedy.

Boudreaux said that she was told that, because oldest Cheatham brother, Mark, had been released from the hospital, the school "anxiously" is preparing for Mark's return to school.

"We talked to the kids to be supportive so that Mark is able to get back to what will be as normal a high-school experience as possible," Boudreaux said.

Both Mark and Markus had been living with their father, school officials said. School officials had no information about upcoming funeral services for Markus Cheatham.



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