Softball team deals with aftermath of fatal accident

Varsity and junior high squads were first-hand witnesses to tragic accident

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Jeff Miller

The softball team was warming up Tuesday in Williamsburg near the scene of a fatal car accident.

Noah D'Angelo, Staff Writer

We all saw the accident and the lady on the road. We just stood there and cried.”

— Tyson Irvin

It seemed like a normal pregame warm up for the softball team Tuesday in Williamsburg.

The squealing of tires turned that ordinary day into a devastating one.

Senior catcher Caroline Showalter remembers it quite vividly.

“Coach Rich Shawley noticed a speeding car and said ‘look how fast that guy’s going,’” she recalled.

“We were warming up and all of a sudden we heard the squealing of tires. I looked up to see a car speeding, going up a wall, flipping over, and rolling three more times,” said senior Edyn Convery.

Coaches from both teams rushed to the wreck. B-A coach Jim Payne instructed his players not to look at the scene.

The driver of the car, a 52-year old female resident of Williamsburg, was thrown out of the vehicle and killed at the site of the wreck.

Her two elementary school-aged grandsons were passengers in the car. One of the boys was also thrown from the car and both were taken to UPMC Altoona, but both are expected to make a full recovery.

Needless to say, the game was postponed.

The car was reported to have sideswiped a parked vehicle and knocked over a couple trashcans following a curve to the left. The erratic driving continued like this for another quarter of a mile when the car finally hit an embankment, flipped upside down, rolled over twice, and landed in front of a house. The cause of the crash is still unknown and hours after, police were still trying to recreate it as best they could.

The problem with an accident like that is it reminds us that we are all powerless over events beyond our control.”

— Coach Payne

“The problem with an accident like that is it reminds us that we are all powerless over events beyond our control,” said Coach Payne. “Our prayers and thoughts go out to the victim’s family.”

When the crash occurred, sophomore Ali Dumin was taking batting practice.

“After it happened, we all ran to the outfield, junior high and varsity, and we started crying,” Dumin said.

“We were all in shock and scared. The junior high team could see the woman lying on the road,” added Convery. “It was awful.”

Tyson Irvin, a freshman, recalls her experience from the dugout of the nearby junior high field.

“I heard the tires screech and the car smash into the ground. I could also hear a little boy screaming,” said Irvin.

The junior high field presented a clear view to the wreck.

“We all saw the accident and the lady on the road. We just stood there and cried,” Irvin said.

The next day, the Bellwood-Antis Middle and High School staff took precautions to prevent the event from emotionally scarring the girls who witnessed it.

The administration called both teams to the library to discuss the options available for them on Wednesday. There were counselors available all day for players to talk.

It is possible the death and injuries could have been avoided, but no one in the car was wearing a seat belt.

“(Williamsburrg’s) coach came over to talk to us and told us to let the accident be a lesson to wear your seat belt and don’t speed,” said Dumin.

The Bellwood-Antis softball team is returning to the site Thursday, May 12 to play the game.

Freshman Jestelynn Heaton is cautious on returning.

“I think we’ll be okay going back, but it will still be in our minds,” she said.

Showalter, however, knows the return is inevitable so she believes in accepting the trip head on.

“I think it’s going to be hard to return to the field but it’s something we’ll have to get over and deal with because the younger girls have to keep going back there every year,” Showalter said.