College Wrestler Dies In Storm-Related Crash - News, Weather & Sports

College Wrestler Dies In Storm-Related Crash

(CORBIN, Ky., November 11th, 2002, 10:30 a.m.) -- A Cumberland College wrestler was killed and three teammates were injured when their vehicle skidded out of control and slammed into a tractor-trailer during a rainstorm.

The students were headed back to the Williamsburg campus after an outing at the movies when their car crossed the median of Interstate 75 and crashed head-on into the truck, authorities said.

Ryan Sergant, 18 of Hampton, Va., died from his injuries at Baptist Regional Medical Center in Corbin, said Kentucky State Police Trooper Craig Sutton. Sergant was ejected from the car and suffered chest and head trauma, Whitley County EMS Paramedic Karen
Hill said.

A second student, Cornelius Wiggins, 20, of Dover, Fla., was transferred to the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville, Tenn., with leg and skull fractures early Monday, Hill said. Wiggins was in critical condition, state police said.

The car's driver, Jacob M. Byerly, 19, of Middleburg, Fla., was in serious condition with multiple injuries at the Corbin hospital. A third passenger, Scott Konicki, 20, of Madison, Ga., was treated and released, Sutton said.

The crash occurred about 11:20 p.m. EST Sunday. No alcohol was involved, and the crash was blamed on wet pavement, state police said.

The foursome, three freshmen and a sophomore, were returning to campus after a night at the movies, Cumberland College wrestling coach Jess Wilder said. A second group of wrestlers in another car were among the first on the scene about three miles south of Corbin, he said.

"My heart's broken," Wilder said Monday. "For the kids and their families, the parents, the team ... it's just a tragedy."

Cumberland College President Jim Taylor said the school was contacting the victims' families.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with them," he said.

Truck driver Richard White said he was traveling north when the crash occurred with the southbound car. White, 43, of Friendsville, Tenn. wasn't injured in the crash.

"I thought I was going to die, White said. "I'm just rattled. The car just crossed over the median and hit me head-on. Then I was airborne. It happened so fast, I didn't have a chance to do anything at all. It ripped my front axle off and ruptured my fuel tanks."

Thick fuel covered several hundred yards of grass and asphalt at the scene. Another tractor trailer slammed into the detached axle and swerved into another car, causing a minor crash, White said. The second car, he said, was hit by flying debris from both vehicles.

No one in the other two vehicles were injured, police said.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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