UVa baseball team 'jumps into action' after driver's medical issue

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Friday, April 22, 2016

MIAMI -- A bus carrying Virginia's defending national champion baseball team was involved in a crash early Thursday night after the driver had an undisclosed medical emergency and lost consciousness while behind the wheel.

Virginia coach Brian O'Connor and members of his staff immediately began trying to tend to the driver by administering CPR as the bus rolled through a busy intersection at rush hour and crashed into a roadside tree, said Miami Fire-Rescue spokesperson Capt. Ignatius Carroll.

Coaches also helped steer the bus off the road. After first responders arrived to continue lifesaving efforts, the driver was taken to a Miami hospital in "extremely critical" condition, Carroll said.

"We commend the staff for their quick actions in trying to gain control of the bus as well as trying to initiate lifesaving efforts for this driver," Carroll said. "This could have been a lot worse if they remained in the intersection."

O'Connor and his staff were unavailable for comment Thursday night. The driver's identity was not immediately released, and there was no update on his condition after he arrived at the hospital.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the bus driver and his family," Virginia officials said in a release late Thursday.

Carroll said three cars and a motor scooter that were parked near the tree were all damaged in the crash. Some of those vehicles belonged to employees of a nearby car wash who ran over to offer further assistance and wound up removing a metal pole that had wedged the door shut after it crashed through the windshield in the vicinity of the seats occupied by coaches in the moments before the driver fell ill, Carroll said.

"That coaching staff jumped into action," he said.

The bus was carrying the Cavaliers from Miami International Airport to their hotel for this weekend's Atlantic Coast Conference series against Miami. The team eventually got another bus and made it to the hotel Thursday night.

The bus was from Abbott Trailways, a Virginia company that the Cavaliers regularly use. The bus and the driver were sent to South Florida earlier in the week with much of the gear that the team will need for its three-game series that starts on Friday night against the Hurricanes. Many teams send a bus ahead with equipment so they can minimize how much they need to take on flights.

Game 1 remains scheduled for Friday. Miami is the nation's No. 1-ranked team in most major college baseball polls.