Reports confirm that Kristina Quigley and Anthony Gaetta, the Seton Hill University women's lacrosse coach and a school bus driver, were killed when the team's bus veered off the Pennsylvania Turnpike and tragically crashed into a tree on Saturday, March 16. Quigley (30) was six-months pregnant with her unborn son. 22 other passengers, including two coaches and several players, managed to survive the crash. Police claim they weren't immediately sure what caused the accident, but report that no other vehicles were involved in the deadly wreck.
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The lacrosse team was traveling from Seton Hill University, a Catholic liberal arts school in Greensburg, PA, to a game at Millersville University. The crash occurred about 50 miles away from the opposing team's school located in central Pennsylvania. Turnpike spokesman Bill Capone told Reuters that the bus allegedly veered violently off the road at around 9 a.m. on Saturday, crashing through a fence and then slamming into a tree. Three passengers, including Quigley, were immediately flown to the Penn State Hershey Medical Center. The pregnant coach died shortly after. Gaetta, the 61-year-old driver, died at the scene.
Doctors were unable to save Quigley's unborn child, a son. Quigley also leaves behind a husband and another young son, Gavin.
Quigley was currently coaching the Seton Hill lacrosse team for her second season. The team won 11 games under her leadership during her first season as coach.
Quigley, a Baltimore native, recently transferred to Pennsylvania from Erskine College in Due West, SC, where she started the NCAA Division II program. She once worked as the assistant lacrosse coach for Duquesne University, where she also graduated from with a major in Secondary Education and minors in Math and English. She played as an attacker for Duquesne as a student.
The University posted a notice of Quigley's unfortunate death later on Saturday:
"The Seton Hill community is mourning the loss of Kristina Quigley and her unborn son... The University extends deepest sympathy to Quigley's husband and family."
Authorities are currently investigating the cause of the crash. One side of the bus was violently torn away as a result of the accident - the large vehicle was left mangled at the bottom of a grassy slope about 70 yards from the road. According to a spokeswoman for the Public Utility Commission, the company that operates the bus is up to date on its inspections, including bus and driver safety checks.
Survivors of the crash were transported to local hospitals as precaution.
Quigley is remembered fondly by Mike Scerbo, the women's lacrosse coach at Duquesne University when Quigley worked there in 2008. Scerbo told the AP:
"In that time, I really saw how much passion she had to be a coach, and how much she enjoyed working with the kids. She was a teacher, and she wanted to help kids grow and learn, not just about the sport, but about life... She was a very happy person, very passionate about life, about her players, about her job and most importantly about her family."
Thoughts and condolences go out to Quigley and Gaetta's family, friends, and colleagues during this unfortunate time of tragedy.