Yesterday was to be a very low-key, lazy day for us… circumstances came together at the last minute to give me an unexpected day off of work, so we were moving really slowly when we first heard about a horrific accident in Pennsylvania.
If you haven’t heard about this terrible event, you can access the ABC27 link here: http://www.abc27.com/story/21660187/pregnant-coach-was-1-of-2-pa-turnpike-crash-victims
Due to copyright concerns, I’m not going to post the photos of this event here… it’s just too awful to fathom.
Here’s a general overview of what happened, as I understand it. At 8:50AM on Saturday, March 16, the tour bus carrying the Seton Hill Women’s Lacrosse team to their game at Millersville University veered through a guard rail on the PA Turnpike and crashed into a tree, sheering off the front left corner of the bus and killing the driver. First responders were unbelievably fast and every single person had been transported from the scene by 9:43AM, utilizing the 10 ambulances and myriad of trained personnel who responded. Three people were airlifted to Penn State Hershey and Holy Spirit hospitals and everyone was treated in one form or another at either Hershey, Holy Spirit, or Carlisle Regional.
We were glued to our computers for any bits of information that was being posted, primarily through Twitter. ESPN posted a notice about the accident on their website, but there was never any mention via their broadcast at any point in the day. Twitter was awesome… CNN was informative… the local TV stations (cumberlink.com, the Sentinal, and TV27) followed the story throughout the day and gave updates as they were released. The saddest bit of news, to date, was the announcement that Seton Hill’s head coach, Kristina Quigley, and her unborn 6-month-old son, were both pronounced dead at the hospital. It was one of the hardest things to hear about this unbelievable tragedy.
Don’t get me wrong… I am so incredibly glad to know that most of the lives on that bus were saved. I just keep going back to the thought that it could have happened anywhere, to anyone. Everyone I know has ridden a bus at one time or another. Every parent I know has sent a loved one on a trip with the same prayer for safety. There was nothing out of the ordinary about this trip… except that it wasn’t ordinary.
Seton Hill University holds a special place in our hearts because it’s where E spent his freshman year of college. He was lucky enough to be part of their men’s lacrosse program and logged more miles on his own bus travel than I’d care to contemplate. The MLAX team was close to the WLAX team and he knew many of the team members who were involved in this crash… one of his good friends is dating one of the girls on the WLAX team and, thankfully, is doing well after her ordeal.
Yet I wonder… how will these young women handle travel when they have to get back on a tour bus for their next away game? How will they work through the death of their young head coach? How will they, eventually, put this awful event into their personal histories and move on with their lives.
In response to this tragedy, there have been some incredible notes of hope. Someone created a “Play 4 Seton Hill” Facebook page, in which teams/programs are encouraged to wear crimson/yellow (SHU’s school colors) ribbons or laces and send a photo in support of the team. An amazing number of programs have already posted tweets and messages of support, using #Pray4ShuLax, #GriffNation, or #RememberQuigley. One of the best quotes I read was this:
“a griffin is part lion, part eagle. we must stay strong like lions even though some have now spread their wings like eagles” (from @rebeccajO, via twitter)
The school is having a Mass tonight and I very much wish I could be there, if only to be present for such a showing of love and prayer. If this message does nothing more than to remind you to hug your loved ones each and EVERY time they leave you, it’ll be enough. God doesn’t promise us a long life, but He does promise to be there for us. I’m sure He’s in that chapel tonight… and He’s touching hearts and minds as they try and understand the unfathomable.
Hug your loved ones… and Pray for ShuLax.. #play4setonhill