Police are investigating what caused a bus carrying the Seton Hill women's lacrosse team to veer off the Pennsylvania Turnpike and crash into a tree, killing a pregnant coach, her unborn child and the driver. Three passengers were seriously injured, 19 others were hospitalized, authorities said.
Pennsylvania Turnpike spokeswoman Renee Colborn says 23 players and three coaches were aboard when the bus crashed at about 9 a.m.
The Cumberland Coroner's office identified the driver as Anthony Gueaetta, 61, of Johnstown, Pennsylvania. He died at the scene of the crash. They also identified the other victim as Kristina Quigley, 30, of Greensburg, Pennsylvania. Quigley was taken to the Penn State Hershey Medical Center where she died from her injuries. Quigley was the coach of the team and was six months pregnant. Her unborn baby boy did not survive.
Quigley, along with two injured passengers were flown by helicopter to Penn State Hershey Medical Center, hospital spokeswoman Danielle Ran said. She did not give the conditions of the other two. Officials said all other passengers were taken to hospitals as a precaution. Officials say two of the injured passengers are from Montgomery County. Nicole Rossi, a sophomore from Collegeville, was taken to Carlisle Regional Medical Center where she was treated and released. Rachel Hilbert, a senior from Perkiomenville, was taken to Harrisburg Hospital where she was also treated and released.
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.
The company 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. The company also released the following statement:
Mlaker Transportation is cooperating fully with police, officials from Seton Hill University and others to assist the student athletes, coaches and others on the motorcoach to make sure they receive medical attention, their personal items are collected and those that need transportation back to Seton Hill receive it immediately.
Mlaker Transportation wishes to express its sorrow and sympathy to those impacted by this accident. Mlaker Transportation places the safe transportation of all of our passengers at the highest level. With more than 40 years in operation, we strive to make a trip on one of our coaches a great experience.
Mlaker Transportation has a Satisfactory rating, the highest, from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. We are also a Department of Defense Level One rated carrier, authorized to transport military personal and we are TSX Approved.
State environmental officials were also sent to the scene because of a diesel fuel spill from the bus.
Quigley is survived by her husband, Glenn Quigley and her son, Gavin. According to the University, Quigley had just begun her second season with the Seton Hill women's lacrosse team after leading them to 11 victories in her first season. Quigley, a Baltimore, Maryland native, came to Seton Hill most recently from Erskine College in Due West, S.C., where she started the NCAA Division II program. Prior to that post, Quigley worked as the assistant lacrosse coach at Duquesne University, her alma mater
Seton Hill is a Catholic school of about 2,500 students near Pittsburgh. The team was to play Saturday afternoon at Millersville University, about 50 miles from the crash site in central Pennsylvania.
The school will offer a memorial Mass for Quigley and pray for Gueaetta along with everyone who was injured in the accident. The Mass will take place on Sunday at 7 p.m. in Saint Joseph Chapel on the University's campus.
Seton Hill says it used texts, emails, and phone calls to notify students about the crash. School officials say counseling service will be provided for students and teachers. Students can call 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 ).
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.