Team OK after Minnesota Twins minor league bus struck in fatal crash

David Brown
Big League Stew

Members of a Minnesota Twins minor league squad reportedly were unhurt after a car going the wrong way on Interstate-295 near Jacksonville, Fla. struck their team bus early Tuesday morning. The car's driver died from injuries suffered in the collision, reports KARE-TV, a station in the Twin Cities.

Thirty members and a coach of the Class A Elizabethton (Tenn.) Twins were headed from spring training in Florida to their home opener about 4:30 a.m. when a black Honda, heading the wrong way, collided with the bus.

From KARE:

No one on board the bus was injured in the crash. The baseball team was transferred to a new bus around 7:45 a.m., and the club is expected to arrive in Elizabethon around 4 p.m. Tuesday.

Twins President Dave St. Peter tweeted about the crash, saying "Tragic accident involving @EtownTwins bus. Thankful all members of @Twins family are safe. Thoughts and prayers for driver of other vehicle."

Authorities are looking into whether alcohol was involved on the part of the Honda driver.

No players on the Twins' 40-man roster are listed on the active roster for Elizabethton, a rookie team which plays in the Appalachian League, which has a shorter season compared to advanced minor leagues. Some fans might know of Max Kepler, who is beginning his second season with Elizabethton, where top prospects Byron Buxton and Jose Berrios played a season ago.

The coaching staff includes Ray Smith and Jeff Reed, former players for the Twins, but it's uncertain if they or another coach, Henry Bonilla, were on the bus when the crash happened.

This is one of those dreadful but noteworthy stories that wouldn't make The Stew unless it somehow involved baseball. It's awful for the deceased driver and his/her family, but when a real-world catastrophe interferes with our insulated sports world, it gets you wondering about other times when we were less fortunate.

The Steve Olin/Tim Crews/Bob Ojeda boating accident 20 years ago.

NFL players David Oversteet and Joe Delaney dying young in the 1980s.

Losing the Evansville men's basketball team in a plane crash in 1979.

All of it is morbid, and tough to think about. Someday, hopefully not soon, it's going to happen again and we'll lose someone in their prime from sports we know — at least from a distance.

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