The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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March 17, 2013

Bus crash victims mourned

GREENSBURG — Somber athletes, students and school staff hugged and cried in a century-old chapel on the campus of a small Catholic university outside Pittsburgh on Sunday night, mourning the loss of a coach, mother and friend who died a day earlier along with her unborn child when the team’s bus crashed on the way to a game.

Kristina Quigley, 30, of Greensburg, died of her injuries at a hospital, Cumberland County authorities said. Quigley was about six months pregnant, and her unborn son didn’t survive. The bus driver, Anthony Guaetta, 61, of Westmont, died at the scene.

The bus operator is Mlaker Charter & Tours of Davidsville.  

Members of the Seton Hill University community tearfully gathered at St. Joseph Chapel, known on the hilltop campus as “the heart” of the school, to memorialize victims of the fatal crash – especially head lacrosse coach Quigley, who was remembered as warm, outgoing and a natural leader.

The ornate chapel with 20-foot high stained glass windows depicting biblical scenes, marble columns and arched ceilings echoed with biblical readings and songs, followed by prayers and sermons.

Those in attendance were reminded of their own mortality by the Rev. Jeremiah O’Shea, who asked: “Aren’t we all so helpless in the face of death?”

Players and coaches from Seton Hill were among 23 people aboard when the bus crashed into a tree Saturday morning on the Pennsylvania Turnpike outside Harrisburg.

The team was headed to an afternoon game at Millersville University, about 50 miles from the crash site in central Pennsylvania. Police are investigating the cause.

The service program read “In Loving Memory of Kristina Quigley and Son.”

“It’s numbing,” said sophomore Kt Dimmick of Rochester, N.Y., who was friends with some members of the team. “There’s really no words for it. The simple fact that she was pregnant.”

Some members of the women’s lacrosse team, wearing their team jerseys, walked down the aisle during the service, holding hands and fighting back tears.

They were joined at the service by members of other teams. Some students wiped away tears, while most were somber and quiet through the 65-minute long service.

Quigley, a native of Baltimore, was married and had a young son, Gavin, according to the school.

No members of her family spoke at the service.

The Catholic liberal arts school of about 2,500 students on 200 wooded acres atop a hill was plunged into mourning when word of the crash reached campus Saturday. The school is offering grief counseling to students.

Two victims flown to Penn State Hershey Medical Center remained there Sunday, and no official information was released.

Police couldn’t immediately say what had caused the crash, and the investigation is ongoing.

The front side of the bus, which was towed from the scene Saturday night, was shorn away, and the vehicle came to rest upright about 70 yards from the highway at the bottom of a grassy slope.

Mlaker Charter & Tours is up to date on its inspections, which include bus and driver safety checks, said Jennifer Kocher, a spokeswoman for the state Public Utility Commission, which regulates bus companies.

The agency’s motor safety inspectors could think of no accidents or violations involving the company that would raise a red flag, she said, though complete safety records were not available Saturday.

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