The University of Maine women's basketball head coach attempted to grab the wheel of a team bus when the driver was stricken Tuesday night, but the vehicle crashed into trees off Interstate 95 north of Boston.
The unidentified John T. Cyr & Sons Inc. driver was seriously injured and was being treated at a Massachusetts hospital late Tuesday.
Twenty-two students were evaluated or treated for minor injuries.
The head coach, Richard Barron, suffered cuts on his face.
“He (Barron) got up and tried to get to the wheel, but as he approached the driver, the bus hit the median and sent him flying into the door well area," UMaine Athletic Director Steve Abbott told the Bangor Daily News. "He said the bus kept on cruising across the median and all the lanes of the northbound side.”
As images of the accident circulated on news channels and websites, the Anderson family of Greene was breathing a collective sigh of relief.
Mark and Tammy Anderson's oldest daughter, Courtney, a member of the Maine team and a former standout at Leavitt Area High School, was among those on the bus.
"We had actually first heard about it from Courtney," said Mark Anderson, who sounded exhausted. "One of the other girls gave her a phone temporarily, she called us as she was headed into the ambulance for evaluation."
Courtney Anderson was medically cleared.
"We heard back from Courtney, and she's fine," Mark Anderson said. "The only thing that happened to her was her phone is destroyed. What it comes down to is, based on all the information from Abbott and everything else, what really happened is, there was a medical issue with the driver where he lost control of the bus, the coaches tried to take control of the bus but couldn't. It crossed the median and went into the other lane. Thank goodness it was the time of night it was, versus five in the afternoon when that area would have been clobbered with traffic."
Late Tuesday night, Courtney tweeted her thanks for all the well wishes.
"Thank you for all the prayers," she wrote. "God is good."
She followed that post with another: "Sorry to worry my family and friends but in the midst of eveything my phone broke but that is fine by me because we are all safe."
Tammy Anderson announced Monday she was retiring as head coach at Leavitt, from which younger daughter Kristen is scheduled to graduate this spring. Kristen was also a standout player for the Hornets and has committed to attend school and play basketball at the University of New Hampshire in the fall.
Assistant coach and former Maine player Amy Vachon tweeted the following message late Tuesday night:
“Thank you everyone for your thoughts and prayers.. I’ve heard from so many I can’t respond to all.. but we are good.. def a miracle..”
The team was on its way to Boston University for a scheduled America East regular season game on Wednesday.
UMaine was on its way to Boston University for a scheduled America East regular season game on Wednesday. Mark Anderson said it is customary for the team to travel to a game the night before.
"The game was scheduled for (Wednesday) night, and they always go down the night before so they can actually practice on the court the day of the game," he said. "They were traveling down as planned."
According to Abbott, the game has been canceled, and will likely not be made up, as the outcome would have no bearing on the final standings. The team is still scheduled to play its final home game of the season Saturday in Orono against the University of New Hampshire.
"It’s a terrible accident, but we’re just incredibly thankful that none of the other passengers were more seriously hurt," Abbott told the Bangor Daily News. "I can’t believe the bus was able to go that far without having another collision. We’re very thankful."
Material from the Bangor Daily News and the Associated Press was used in this report.