Pa. lacrosse team bus crashes; pregnant coach dies
CARLISLE – A tour bus carrying a college’s women’s lacrosse team to a game went off the Pennsylvania Turnpike Saturday and crashed into a tree, killing a pregnant coach and the driver and sending others to hospitals, authorities said.
Lacrosse players from Seton Hill University and three coaches were among the 23 people aboard when the bus crashed about 9 a.m., turnpike spokeswoman Renee Colborn said. It’s not clear what caused the crash, but state police were investigating, said Megan Silverstram of the Cumberland County public safety department.
Kristina Quigley of Greensburg, 30, was flown to a hospital and died there from injuries from the crash, Cumberland County authorities said Saturday. They say Quigley was about six months pregnant, and her unborn child did not survive. The driver, 61-year-old Anthony Guaetta of Johnstown, died at the scene of the crash.
Two other victims were flown by helicopter to Penn State Hershey Medical Center, hospital spokeswoman Danielle Ran said. She did not give their conditions. Officials said all other passengers were taken to hospitals as a precaution.
The bus came to a stop upright on the side of the road with part of its left side shorn off, photos from the scene showed, though it’s unclear whether that was from the impact or rescue operation.
The lacrosse team was headed to play Saturday afternoon at Millersville University, about 50 miles from the crash site in central Pennsylvania, for its fourth game of the year. The Griffins were off to a promising start at 3-1 in the young season. Both Saturday’s game and a home game today were canceled after the crash, and Seton Hill, a Catholic school of about 2,500 students near Pittsburgh, said a memorial Mass was planned for tonight on campus.
Quigley, a native of Baltimore, was married and had a young son, Gavin, the school said. She was in her second season as coach and led the Griffins to 11 wins last year. She came to the school from Erskine College in Due West, S.C., where she started the school’s NCAA Division II program. She also worked as an assistant coach at Duquesne, her alma mater in Pittsburgh, the school said.
The bus operator, Mlaker Charter & Tours, of Davidsville, is up to date on its inspections, which include bus and driver safety checks, said Jennifer Kocher, a spokeswoman for the state Public Utility Commission, which regulates bus companies.
The agency’s motor safety inspectors could think of no accidents or violations involving the company that would raise a red flag, she said, though complete safety records were not available Saturday.
Mlaker sent investigators to the scene, company dispatcher Kelly Hay said. The company had no information yet from the investigators and could not comment, she said.
State environmental officials also were sent to the scene because of a diesel fuel spill from the bus.
On Tuesday, another bus carrying college lacrosse players from a Vermont team was hit by a sports car that spun out of control on a wet highway in upstate New York, sending the bus toppling onto its side, police said. One person in the car died.
And last month, a bus carrying 42 high school students from the Philadelphia area and their chaperones slammed into an overpass in Boston, injuring 35. Authorities said the driver had directed the bus onto a road with a height limit.