Two volleyball players injured when bus crashed through guard rail

Posted at 8:33 AM, Oct 24, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-24 10:33:15-04

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    JACKSON COUNTY, N.C. (WLOS) — Minor injuries were reported when a bus carrying a high school volleyball team crashed through a guard rail in Jackson County late Tuesday morning.

The Robbinsville High School volleyball team was on the way to a state playoff game near Charlotte when the bus’ driver passed out or blacked out behind the wheel, school bus transportation director Chris McClung said.

McClung said coach Kadey Phillips was driving eastbound on Highway 74 near Balsam when she lost control of the bus, and it careened across the median and guardrail and ended up in the westbound lane.

“I yelled, like, ‘We’re wrecking, we’re wrecking,’” volleyball player Gracye Burchfield said.

Troopers said a box truck slowed and stopped, blocking traffic, and there were no further collisions.

Burchfield said she saw Philips passed out. Phillips’ mother was on the bus, too.

“And her mom just ran over there. She was trying to wake her up, and then, at that time, she turned the wheel and we got stopped. I guess it was just by the grace of God that we didn’t have any severe injuries or dead,” Burchfield said.

The Robbinsville High principal David Matheson, whose daughter is a member of the volleyball team, was traveling not far behind the bus when it crashed. When the wreck happened, his assistant principal called.

“And immediately my daughter called behind that and told me that everyone was OK for the most part,” Matheson said. “We did actually have a couple kids that might have concussions, but, other than that, just bruises and scrapes.

Nearby Balsam Baptist Missionary Church picked up the team.

“They took us up there and fed us and brought us pizza,” Burchfield said.

Worried parents picked the girls up at the church.

Phillips was taken to Harris Regional Hospital in Sylva.

Meanwhile, the team plans to go to the playoffs Wednesday. Many parents are electing to drive them to the Charlotte area tournament.

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