LOUISVILLE, Ky. – A Kentucky legislator who is also a high school teacher was critically injured Tuesday trying to break up a fight between two students.
State Rep. Dewayne Bunch, 49, was punched in the head and fell to the cafeteria floor, hitting his head on the tile, Whitley County Sheriff Colan Harrell said.
"He ran over there very quickly and ran right into the punch," Harrell said. "... When his head hit the floor, he sustained more injury."
Bunch was in "extremely critical" condition at a local hospital before being taken to the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington. A spokeswoman there said Bunch's family had requested no information be released about his condition.
The two boys involved in the fight, ages 15 and 16, were charged with one count of first-degree assault and two counts of third-degree assault, and have been taken to a juvenile detention center, the sheriff said.
A surveillance camera caught most of the fight and showed Bunch being hit by the 16-year-old, the sheriff said. It wasn't clear what sparked the fight, which began as breakfast was being served to dozens of students.
The boys kept fighting after Bunch was knocked out. Two other teachers were also struck, but were able to stop the fight. Neither the students nor the two teachers needed medical attention.
Bunch, a Republican elected last fall, defeated longtime legislator Charles Siler, a Democrat, and represents Whitley County and part of Laurel County in the southeastern part of the state. He has taught math and science at Whitley County High for 17 years.
County schools held a moment of silence for Bunch.
"Our entire school district family remains in prayer for Dewayne and his family," said Whitley County school Superintendent Scott Paul.
The House adjourned March 24. It wasn't immediately clear whether Bunch was teaching while he was serving in the House.
Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo called it a sad day.
"I hope he will be able to recover from this horrific situation," the Democrat said in a statement. "I enjoyed working with Dewayne when the General Assembly was in session and found him to be an excellent advocate for his constituents."
Associated Press writers Dylan Lovan and Beth Campbell in Louisville contributed to this report.
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