Quick reflexes averted disaster for Cornell’s sprint football team Saturday as heavy snowfall imperiled its return journey to Ithaca.The team was returning from Annapolis, M.D., when, around 11 a.m., a tree fell onto the right lane of the highway, partially hitting the bus that members of the team’s offense were riding, said Anthony Tataseo ’15, an offensive lineman.“All of a sudden, there was a huge branch scratching across the windshield, and we noticed our mirror was gone,” he said.Immediately after, a trailer truck attempted to change lanes to avoid the tree but jack-knifed in front of the bus with the members of the defense, which followed behind. Making a quick decision, the driver of the defense bus avoided careening over the rail, which had a “decent drop-off,” by clipping the back of the trailer, Chris Sitko ’15 said. The bus skidded against the left lane guard rail.“The bus driver yelled to look out,” Christopher Fieschko ’13 said.No one was injured, according to Michael Monahan ’15, a player on the defense bus.Because coaches anticipated there would be a major snowstorm Saturday night and did not want extra buses to be sent down, the team regrouped at a hotel and spent an extra night after the crash in Lebanon, P.A., returning to Ithaca Sunday morning.Players said they were relieved to be okay and described the incident as surreal. “I didn’t know what was going on. … It all happened in eight seconds, and I almost thought I was asleep, but then there was a big bump that kind of shook us,” Monahan said. “I didn’t realize how close we were, how dangerous the situation was until we looked back on it.”Sitko said most of the players, having watched a movie, were either asleep or just waking up when the defense bus hit the trailer.“I didn’t really know what to think. … I couldn’t believe what was happening,” he said.Tataseo recalled the events unfolding in a blur.“All of a sudden the coach started swearing, I heard a large boom and then there was brown wood flying everywhere on the bus … Everyone was like, ‘Woah, what happened,’” Tataseo said.Though disappointed to miss Halloween festivities back at Cornell, players said they were happy to safely return to Ithaca.“It’s too bad we missed Halloween weekend, but we are thankful that the bus driver kept everybody safe,” Fieschko said. Monahan expressed his gratitude for the bus driver’s action.“Our bus driver made the right move. … He really saved the Cornell team’s defense,” Monahan said.
Original Author: Akane Otani