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April 29, 2014

Tragedy strikes Dalton couple

College coach hurt, fiancee killed on way to be married

The bride-to-be, a popular educator at City Park School, and the groom-to-be, a well-liked Dalton State College assistant basketball coach, had set out Monday from Dalton for Mobile, Ala.

In just six days, the two 20-somethings were to be married.

Then tragedy struck on I-85 South near Newnan, about 40 miles south of Atlanta.

John Redman — know as “Coach Red” — lost control of the 2008 Lexus he was driving and drove into the highway median, hitting a concrete bridge support of an overhanging road, according to the Georgia State Patrol. The impact killed his fiancee Brittany Huber, a teacher’s assistant at City Park, and left Redman in Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta in critical condition.

Redman, 23, and Huber, 25, had been engaged since June 2013.

Georgia State Patrol officials said the crash was not the result of rainy, stormy weather that swept through much of the state Monday evening. It happened at about 7:15 p.m. near mile marker 33 in Meriwether County. A collision specialist team is investigating why Redman lost control of the car. A state patrol trooper said the initial impact was on the right side of the car where Huber was sitting and that Redman was unresponsive when paramedics arrived on the scene to rush him the hospital.

Derek Waugh, Dalton State athletic director, and Tony Ingle, the college’s head basketball coach, traveled to Atlanta to be with Redman and his family. Waugh said in a statement Redman was “heavily sedated” after visiting him Tuesday afternoon.

“John is in ICU (intensive care unit) at Grady Memorial,” Waugh said. “He has suffered multiple fractures, including a skull fracture. He has use of his limbs. He is heavily sedated. He has been able to breathe on his own but is on a breathing tube.”

Waugh said doctors would know more about Redman’s prognosis later Tuesday night. The college kept the community informed about the accident through online and email updates.

“Please keep the Huber family and John and his family in your prayers,” Waugh said. “I have informed his parents of the outpouring of love and prayers that have come from our community for Brittany and John.”

News of Huber’s sudden passing shocked much of the Dalton Public Schools community. Huber started working as a paraprofessional at City Park in November 2013. Pat Holloway, the school system’s director of communications, said social workers and school counselors were at City Park Tuesday to offer grief counseling to students and staff.

“Brittany was a vibrant, caring person who made a positive impact on our school during her time at City Park,” City Park Principal Rick Little said in a statement. “Her beautiful smile, compassionate heart and sensitive spirit will be missed by everyone who knew her. Our City Park family is grieving this terrible loss and our thoughts and prayers go out to the Huber and Redman families.”

Waugh said Huber was “an amazing person who was loved by all who met and knew her.”

“Our thoughts and prayers are with her family at this impossibly hard time,” he added.

The impact of the accident has been “felt throughout the entire community,” said Russell Smith, a Dalton State student who knows Redman.

“He’s just a really good guy,” Smith said. “He lived below me at the Wood Valley Apartments (north of the college). I knew him very well, we became very close. He’s just really friendly, very outgoing.”

Smith said the “whole student body is praying” for Redman.

“Everyone is really concerned,” he said. “We are praying for him and hope he recovers. And we’re praying for her family. We know this is a very difficult time for them.”

Redman, a native of Spanish Fort, Ala., joined the men’s basketball program in October 2013, helping the team to a 26-4 record in its inaugural season. Redman was the first person Ingle hired.

Redman had his basketball career cut short due to injury at Spring Hill College, a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics program in Mobile, Ala. He previously worked as a student assistant coach there, gaining more and more responsibility in the program before moving on to Dalton State. At Dalton State, Ingle previously said Redman would work in the areas of recruiting, academics and infrastructure.

Redman is the son of LPGA player Susie Kirk, who played professionally for almost two decades and is in the Mobile Sports Hall of Fame.

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