Seton Hill community 'deeply saddened' after bus crash kills driver, pregnant coach of women's lacrosse team
The crash scene Saturday morning, near turnpike mile marker 227 in Carlisle.
Seton Hill University students, from left, Dylan Everett, 18, Julia Chessa, 19, and Tyler Zimmer, 20, talk Saturday while on campus about the bus crash that had happened earlier in the day.
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A tour bus carrying the women's lacrosse team from Greensburg's Seton Hill University veered off the Pennsylvania Turnpike Saturday and crashed into a tree, killing the driver and the pregnant head coach while seriously injuring two others, authorities said.
Twenty-three people, including the bus driver, players and coaches, were aboard when the eastbound bus crashed about 9 a.m. near Mile Marker 227 in Carlisle, state police Trooper Rob Hicks said. It's not clear what caused the crash, but state police are investigating. The team was en route to an afternoon game with Millersville University.
Cumberland County officials said the driver, Anthony Guaetta of Johnstown, died at the scene.
Head coach Kristina Quigley, 30, of Greensburg, and two other injured passengers were flown by helicopter to Penn State Hershey Medical Center. Ms. Quigley died there. She was six months pregnant and her unborn son did not survive, authorities said. The condition of the other two victims was unknown, hospital spokeswoman Danielle Ran said.
All other passengers were taken to hospitals as a precaution, authorities said.
"The Seton Hill University community is deeply saddened," Seton Hill spokeswoman Kary L. Coleman said.
Ms. Quigley, who is survived by her husband, Glenn Quigley, and young son, Gavin, had just begun her second season with the Seton Hill women's lacrosse program, according to Ms. Coleman. She led the Griffins to 11 victories in her first season.
A Baltimore native, Ms. Quigley came to Seton Hill from Erskine College in Due West, S.C., where she started the NCAA Division II program.
Prior to that, she worked as the assistant lacrosse coach at Duquesne University, her alma mater. She graduated from Duquesne with a major in secondary education and minors in math and English.
Seton Hill, located in Greensburg, will offer a memorial Mass today for Ms. Quigley and pray for Mr. Guaetta and all those injured at 7 p.m. in St. Joseph Chapel on the university's campus.
"The university is sensitive to the emotional well-being of our students and the responders who were involved in this tragic accident," Ms. Coleman said. She noted that students may seek advice and counseling about any matter related to the accident via the Office of Student Life (724-838-4242), Campus Ministry and the university's director of campus ministry (724-830-1075), the Counseling Center (724-838-4295) and the Seton Hill Center for Family Therapy (724-552-0339).
Ms. Coleman said the university learned from Cumberland County officials that eight passengers were taken to Carlisle Regional Medical Center, seven to Harrisburg Hospital and four to Holy Spirit Hospital in Camp Hill.
Ms. Coleman said Seton Hill administrators used the e2Campus alert system, campus email and phone calls to communicate the seriousness of the accident to students on campus. The university's associate dean of students was en route to Cumberland County to assist students and their families.
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 bus operator, Mlaker Charter & Tours, of Davidsville, Pa., 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 were also sent to the scene because of a diesel fuel spill from the bus.
Seton Hill is a Catholic school of about 2,500 students. The lacrosse team was to play at 1 p.m. at Millersville University, about 50 miles from the crash site in central Pennsylvania.
Millersville spokeswoman Janet Kacskos said, "The reaction was just shock and numbness. We're meeting with the team members right now. We've got counselors and ministers."
On the Seton Hill campus Saturday afternoon, Joanna Pichardo, a forward on Seton Hill's girls hockey team, said she'd received a text that morning about the crash and was "stunned" to hear the news. Ms. Pichardo, 22, is a senior at the school and has many friends on the lacrosse team.
"It's scary. You think you're going to a game and there's this freak accident," she said.
Jen Luczka, 20, is a junior at the school. "We're all friends with everyone," she said. "It's hard to believe this happened, it's such a tragedy. We're so close here.
"But we will come together tomorrow night," she added.
At the McKenna Center, the school's athletic center, officials declined to comment and instructed students not to talk.
Last month in Southern California, a tour bus collided with a car and pickup truck, killing eight and injuring dozens. The tour company was ordered to stop operating because its buses weren't properly maintained or inspected and its drivers weren't properly vetted for qualifications.
A day before that crash, 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.
First Published March 17, 2013 12:00 am