The bus driver transporting the WKU volleyball team on Thursday to Mobile, Ala., suffered a heart attack and lost consciousness at the wheel, WKU Senior Associate Athletic Director Todd Stewart told the Herald Thursday night.
Stewart said that Head Coach Travis Hudson, sitting in the front seat of the bus at the time, took control of the wheel and guided it to a stop. WKU officials were told the bus driver died of the heart attack. No others were injured.
“The girls were incredibly shook up, as you can imagine,” Stewart said. “There weren’t any injuries other than the emotional stress of what they witnessed happening and what they almost witnessed happen.”
The driver was a bus company employee and not under contract with WKU.
The bus had veered from the southbound lane into the northbound lane, Stewart said, before Hudson brought it under control with the the steering wheel only. The brake pedal was blocked by the driver, so the bus coasted until it stopped.
Stewart said the highway patrol in Alabama transported the team via van to its office to get them away from the scene, and the bus company sent a new bus and driver. The whole process took about three hours.
Stewart said the team got back on the road at about 6 p.m. Thursday.
The Sun Belt Conference offices gave WKU the option to cancel its weekend games.
“The girls talked it out,” Stewart said. “They had a good, honest discussion and decided that they wanted to continue on the trip and play their games.”
The Lady Toppers will arrive in Mobile at about midnight, Stewart said, and play the regularly scheduled game against South Alabama at 7 p.m. Friday. They then head to Troy for a 3 p.m. Saturday match.