UMaine players speak out after bus crash
LAWRENCE, Mass. (WHDH) -- The violent images of a bus crash is ingrained in the minds of the University of Maine women’s basketball players that were on board.
“It seemed like a movie. It’s just unreal. Surreal still,” said Liz Wood, a basketball player. “That image of the headlights coming at you…always be ingrained in your head.”
The team recounted the terrifying moments when the coach bus they were on crashed Tuesday night.
“We went through a snow bank on one side. We went through the median, across four lanes of traffic, through another snow bank and into the woods, hitting small trees that slowed the impact,” said UMaine women’s basketball coach Richard Barron.
The team was on its way to Boston for a game when the driver apparently lost consciousness on Interstate 95 south in Georgetown and slumped over the wheel. One of the coaches tried to grab control of the bus, but was tossed to the floor, like many others when the bus hit the median.
“Then, you know, see the headlights coming at you, but then the next thing you know you’re on the side in the woods. It all happened really fast,” said Wood.
The bus ended up on the northbound side of the road. The windshield was shattered. The passengers were forced to open a window in the back to escape the bus.
“We climbed out the window, down a tree. The guy told me to slide down the tree and I was like catch me, because I ain’t sliding down the trees,” said Courtney Anderson, a basketball player.
First responders were amazed at the calmness and lack of serious injuries from the crash.
Students, many of them on crutches from previous surgeries, were carried out on the backs of other teammates. One woman broke her hand. All are grateful to be alive.
“For those of us who are religious we are all feeling like we are blessed today. For those who aren’t, they’re feeling very lucky,” said Barron.
The driver of the bus is listed in fair condition at Boston Medical Center.
The students returned to Maine on Wednesday. Maine has a game on Saturday. It is not clear if they will make up the game against Boston University they missed because of the accident.