Daily Updates

March 18, 2013

College mourns pregnant Pa. coach killed in crash

GREENSBURG, Pa. — A small Catholic college outside Pittsburgh mourned the loss of a women’s lacrosse coach who died along with her unborn child when the team’s bus crashed on the way to a game, remembering her Sunday as warm, outgoing and a natural leader.

Students and staff packed into Seton Hill University’s century-old Saint Joseph’s Chapel for a memorial service for lacrosse coach Kristina Quigley and other victims of the crash. The program for the service reads: “In Loving Memory of Kristina Quigley and Son”

Earlier Sunday, team members and fans at a Seton Hill baseball game observed a minute of silence for the two crash victims. With the players in the background on a cold day, students and other mourners visited a tribute set up in front of a lacrosse net next to the baseball field that featured bouquets of flowers, stuffed animals, a lacrosse stick, a whistle and a candle sat in front of a team photo and signs reading “In memoriam - Kristina Quigley - Forever a Griffin.”

Players and coaches from Seton Hill were among 23 people aboard when the bus crashed into a tree Saturday morning on the Pennsylvania Turnpike outside Harrisburg. The team was headed to an afternoon game at Millersville University, about 50 miles from the crash site in central Pennsylvania. Police are investigating the cause.

Quigley, 30, of Greensburg, died of her injuries at a hospital, Cumberland County authorities said. Quigley was about six months pregnant, and her unborn son didn’t survive. The bus driver, Anthony Guaetta, 61, of Johnstown, died at the scene.

Saturday’s game and a Sunday home game were canceled after the crash.

Seton Hill is a liberal arts school of about 2,500 students that sits atop a hill in western Pennsylvania’s Laurel Highlands. The campus is a mix of older stone and brick buildings surrounded by newer ones. The school is also offering grief counseling to students.

Duquesne University women’s lacrosse coach Mike Scerbo remembered Quigley as a warm, outgoing person who immediately impressed him when he hired her to be an assistant during the 2008 season. Quigley, a Duquesne alum, spent just one season under Scerbo before moving to South Carolina to start Erskine College’s NCAA Division II program.

“In that time, I really saw how much passion she had to be a coach, and how much she enjoyed working with the kids,” Scerbo said. “She was a teacher, and she wanted to help kids grow and learn, not just about the sport, but about life.”

She spent three years at Erskine before taking the top job at Seton Hill for the 2012 season. She stayed in touch with Scerbo, often seeking his guidance and showing up at the Duquesne alumni game.

“She was a very happy person, very passionate about life, about her players, about her job and most importantly about her family,” Scerbo said.

Quigley, a native of Baltimore, was married and had a young son, Gavin, the school said.

Two victims flown to Penn State Hershey Medical Center remained there Sunday, and no information was released about them. A woman injured in the crash was discharged Sunday afternoon from another hospital. All others aboard the bus were taken to hospitals as a precaution, but almost all were treated and released.

Police couldn’t immediately say what had caused the crash. The front side of the bus, which was towed from the scene Saturday night, was shorn away, and the vehicle came to rest upright about 70 yards from the highway at the bottom of a grassy slope.

The bus operator, Mlaker Charter & Tours, of Davidsville, Pa., 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.

On Tuesday, another bus carrying college lacrosse players from a Vermont team was hit by a sports car that spun out of control on a wet highway in upstate New York, sending the bus toppling onto its side, police said. One person in the car died.

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