Tragedy struck the Southwest Minnesota University basketball team on Saturday night as a drunk driver swerved into oncoming traffic and collided with a car carrying head coach Brad Bigler, his wife, his wife’s mother and his five-month old son.
The child didn’t survive the accident. Bigler, who suffered broken ribs and a broken scapula, and mother-in-law, Sharon Shuler, were in critical condition after the accident, while his wife, Heather, made it through with only minor injuries.
“Obviously it’s a tragedy when you lose a young family member,” SMSU Director of Athletics Chris Hmielewski told the Marshall Independent. “The thoughts and prayers of the entire Mustang family and everybody should go out to the Bigler family as they cope with this situation.”
This is the second time in little more than a year that the Bigler family has had to deal with a tragedy like this. Last June, Bigler’s mother was killed in a kayaking accident.
The driver of the other car has two previous drinking and driving arrests dating back to 2000 and 2005. In both cases, his blood-alcohol content was greater than 0.20.
Bigler has been the head coach at SMSU for three years, but he’s been with the program as a player and a coach for 14 seasons. SMSU went 19-11 last season and made the Division II NCAA tournament. Bigler has two other children, daughter Taleigha, 4, and son Nash, 2, were not in the car at the time of the crash.
As if this actually needs to be said, don’t drink and drive, people.
Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.