Church van rolls over, several injured

November 30, 2012

There is an investigation into whether another driver caused that accident that injured members of a Hammond Baptist basketball team and a coach.

After a horrific accident that happened at the state line between Illinois and Inidana, officials are investigating whether a tailgater was a contributing factor in the crash.

Lake County Indiana Sheriffs police say members of the City Baptist High School basketball team out of Hammond, Indiana, were leaving a tournament at Hyles-Anderson College in Crown Point at 8:43 p.m. Thursday night when their van rolled over while exiting the freeway at Cline Ave.

"Almost everyone on the bus has some bumps and bruises and scrapes," said Head Coach Mike Sumner, who was in the second van. "A couple of guys had stitches, but nothing overly serious."

City Baptist was participating in an invitational tournament often frequented by college scouts. Their assistant coach was supposed to drive the van with 11 players aged 15-18.

"On our bus, we usually play around," said assistant coach Angelo Davenport. "When I was in basketball we used to play around, but in a van, we never really seat-belted."

The driver was another volunteer coach, City Baptist teacher Luis Uruchima. The Lake County Sheriff says alcohol was not a factor and the driver has a clean record.

"He's very cautious, safe, that's his personality in general," Sumner said. "He's driven for us before."

Four students and the driver were taken to area hospitals. All students have been released except for 17-year-old Brian Step. He was transported by air ambulance to Loyola Medical Center in Maywood.

His principal says the boys were instructed to wear seatbelts. Step was injured exiting the stricken van while it balanced precariously on the embankment and rolled onto him.

"The team, the boys, were able to lift the van enough to at least get his head from underneath the van until the responders came," said John Francis.

Step suffered some head trauma, a big gash on his forehead and perhaps a broken rib. He is expected to be released from the hospital either Friday night or early Saturday.

As for the driver, he is in East Catherine Hospital with head trauma, but is expected to make a full recovery.

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