Bus crash claims driver, pregnant coach of Seton Hill women's lacrosse
A bus crash on the Pennsylvania Turnpike on Saturday killed the pregnant head coach of the Seton Hill University women's lacrosse team and the driver.
State police are investigating the cause of the 8:50 a.m. crash that killed coach Kristina Quigley, 30, of Greensburg and her unborn son and bus driver Anthony M. Guaetta, 61, of Johnstown. The crash injured 14 others.
“The Seton Hill University community is deeply saddened by the tragic bus accident,” said school spokeswoman Kary Coleman. “The Seton Hill community is mourning the loss of Kristina Quigley and her unborn son. The university extends (its) deepest sympathy to Quigley's husband and family.”
State police Trooper Rob Hicks said the white Mlaker Charter & Tours bus was traveling east when it veered to the side of the road, hit a guardrail and traveled 75 yards before smashing into a tree. The crash occurred about one mile east of the Carlisle interchange. The driver's family declined to comment.
Quigley, who was six months pregnant, hadn't been feeling good and didn't feel up to the trip to Millersville, said Kathy Hopkin, director of Tiny Town Child Care Center in Hempfield, the day care center where Quigley's 2 1⁄2-year-old son Gavin stayed while his parents were at work.
“Just Friday, Kristina said, ‘I really don't feel like going tomorrow (to the game). I really don't feel that well,' ” Hopkin said.
University officials said the bus was carrying the team to a 1 p.m. match at Millersville University, about 50 miles from the crash site.
“I'm in disbelief,” said Veronica Vento, 19, a junior from West Homestead whose roommate, Renee Kania, a team member, was treated for a minor injury. “They're a close-knit team. It's a tragedy.”
Within an hour of the crash, all of the passengers — both injured and uninjured — were transported to four hospitals, authorities said. Seven were taken to Harrisburg, four to Holy Spirit, eight to Carlisle Regional Medical Center and three to Penn State Hershey Medical Center.
Some of the injuries were serious, officials said. Authorities could not provide a breakdown of conditions or injuries.
“It's scary to think of it happening. We feel really bad for the coach's family,” said Jenna Luczka, 20, a junior from Connellsville and a member of the women's soccer team.
Joanna Pichardo, 22, of Lincroft, N.J. a senior forward on the field hockey team, said she was “stunned” when she heard the news.
The university dispatched its associate dean of students to the scene to assist students and their families, Coleman said. Counseling services will be available for students and members of the school's community beginning immediately, she said.
Mlaker Charter & Tours of Davidsville also 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 the bus spilled diesel fuel along the road.
The accident touched the lives of nearly everyone on the campus of the Roman Catholic liberal arts school of 2,300 students in Greensburg. Many walked around campus shocked by the news. The school will have a Mass to remember the lives lost in the crash at 7 p.m. Sunday.
Quigley, a Baltimore native and graduate of Duquesne University, was highly visible on campus, contributing to more to the life of the university than just coaching, said Seton Hill President JoAnne Boyle.
“We're devastated,” she said. “It plunges you into deep grief.”
Team member Rachel Hilbert's grandmother, Dolores Hilbert, said she learned her granddaughter “seemed to be all right,” but did not know the extent of her injures.
“It's just a shame the way this happened,” said Hilbert, 80, of Perkiomenville.
Senior lacrosse defensewoman Kate Linkosky missed the trip because of a broken nose and concussion received Tuesday in a match against Wheeling Jesuit, said John Linkosky of Mt. Lebanon, her father.
“She's shaken up. It's just awful,” he said. “It's very sad. Our prayers are going out to everybody who was involved.”
Seton Hill basketball coach Tony Morocco said he met with his team upon hearing the news, describing it as a “somber gathering” during which they said a prayer for the coach, the driver and the lacrosse team members.
“We asked God to protect them. This is a big family. Every coach is deeply touched,” he said. “Their tragedy has affected every single person here, from the maintenance crew to the student body to the administration.”
Staff writers Joe Napsha, Kari Andren, Brad Bumsted, Bill Vidonic and Bill Zlatos contributed to this report. Brandolph can be reached at 412-391-0927 or firstname.lastname@example.org.