The University of Maine's women's basketball team is on its way home this morning after last night's scary bus crash that left the entire team shaken.
Tammy Anderson, the mother of sophomore Courtney Anderson, talked to her daughter this morning, just before the team left for a return trip to Maine.
"She was good," said Anderson. "She laughed a little bit and tried to make light of it. She said they were leaving the hotel and headed back to Maine. They needed to get the stuff from the other bus. Obviously all their belongings are still on the bus."
The Black Bears were headed for Boston University on Tuesday, where they were scheduled to play a game there Wednesday. That game has been cancelled and will likely not be made up.
According to police, during the ride to Boston, the driver of the bus apparently suffered some kind of medical event and passed out. Though coach Richard Barron tried to grab the steering wheel and get control of the bus, it veered out of control and across the median of Interstate 95, north of Boston. It careened across the northbound lane and then crashed into a cluster of trees off the highway. The driver was reportedly in stable condition Wednesday morning.
"Courtney said it was a miracle," Tammy Anderson said. "She said, 'I don't know how we got across the highway without getting hit. It seemed like we were going to get hit and we didn't.'"
Courtney Anderson's phone was damaged in the crash, so she used a friend's phone Tuesday night to call her parents. She was calling from a hotel in Amesbury on Wednesday morning.
"They weren't looking forward to getting on the bus anytime soon," Tammy Anderson said. "She did mention the snow. Getting back on the bus is one thing but then it was snowing. So they were hoping that they'd be leaving early and not have to deal as much with the snow."
Anderson said her daughter and teammates didn't sleep much last night and were still a bit shaken from the whole experience. But Courtney still had her usual sense of humor.
"She sounded like typical Courtney," Anderson said. "She was joking around about having to carry kids bigger than her over snowbanks."
Tammy Anderson learned of the crash Tuesday night while driving home.
"I got a phone call from this strange number," she said. "I said, 'I don't know what it's about but I'll answer it.' It was Courtney. The good thing was she called right after the accident. "
Players had to borrow cell phones from each other to call home and let family know they were safe.
"She wanted us not to worry if we saw something on the news," Anderson said. "She was fine. She sounded pretty shook up, but she was clearly okay."
The team was then dispersed to different hospitals to be checked out. There were only minor injuries. The biggest challenge for many of the players was that several of their cell phones were broken in the crash, it was difficult for team members to communicate with friends and family.
"You don't realize how important phones are," Anderson said. "Courtney said, 'I was wasn't worried about you because I'd already called you.' But they were all in different hospitals. Without your phone, you don't have much contact with everyone. It was a little scary except they knew that everyone was pretty much OK."
Tammy Anderson said she was fielding calls from friends and family well past midnight Tuesday night into Wednesday morning as word broke about the crash. Parents even got a call from the University of Maine with an update.