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02-09-01, 08:29 AM

Florida State baseball team's bus driver dies at wheel
Feb. 8, 2001
SportsLine.com wire reports

SAN FRANCISCO -- The driver of a bus carrying the Florida State baseball team died of an apparent heart attack as the bus hurtled along Highway 101 at 70 mph Thursday afternoon.

Thanks to quick thinking, coach Mike Martin and his assistants were able to avoid a bus accident.(AP)

Team coaches were able to control the bus and steer it safely to the shoulder, a school spokesman said. No one else was injured.

"I mean, really, if it ever happened again, I would say the next nine times out of 10 we would have been in an accident," said FSU spokesman Jeff Purinton, who was on the charter bus. "It's pretty amazing that it turned out like it did."

The team was several miles north of San Francisco International airport, heading north to eat lunch in downtown San Francisco, when at about 1:10 p.m. coaches saw the driver slump over the wheel, Purinton said.

The driver, an employee of Peninsula Charter Lines, was dead when he arrived at Kaiser Permanente South San Francisco Medical Center, Brisbane fire department Captain Dave Rosenlund said. He said medics tried to revive the driver but he apparently suffered a heart attack. Authorities did not release his identity.

Purinton described this scene of calm tension as passengers realized the danger:

Head coach Mike Martin took the driver's foot off the gas pedal while third base coach Chip Baker sat in his lap to steer.

The stick-shift bus was on the far-left of the multilane freeway so it took Baker some time to maneuver it to the shoulder.

Once there, a student called 911 from a cell phone.

The team waited on the side of the road for about 30 minutes until another driver arrived and then proceeded to San Francisco.

About 35 players and coaches were aboard, Purinton said. The team is in the area to play three games against Stanford, starting Friday afternoon.

The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2001, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved

02-09-01, 08:49 AM
The coaches saved that entire teamas life.

That's a nightmare, I bet it goes a long way to player-coach appreciation