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John Thompson

Elizabethton Bureau Chief
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Updated — Elizabethton Twins bus involved in fatal crash in Florida

June 18th, 2013 8:59 am by John Thompson

Updated — Elizabethton Twins bus involved in fatal crash in Florida

ELIZABETHTON — A charter bus carrying the Elizabethton Twins baseball team from its training facilities in Florida to Elizabethton was involved in a fatal crash early Tuesday morning near Jacksonville. No one aboard the bus was injured, according to early reports.

The crash occurred on an interstate highway around 4:25 a.m. when a car going the wrong way hit the bus. The driver of the car was killed. The crash happened on I-295 north of Pritchard Road.

The team was able to load another bus to continue the team's trip to Elizabethton in order to start its Appalachian League season this week.

Mike Mains, general manager of the Twins said the team is expected to arrive in town between 4-5 p.m. today.

"You don't expect something like that when you come to work in the morning," Mains said. He has been busy for the past several days preparing for the team's arrival, finding housing for everyone and other details. 

"The driver of that bus must have done a great job," Mains said. "When you see a car coming straight at you like that, it would have been so easy to react and turn that bus on its side." Mains said the same driver has been making the trip for the Twins for many years.

"This is a trip, from Fort Myers to Elizabethton, that we have been taking for a long time. We have been driving at night for several years," Mains said.

All of the team players on the roster were on the bus, plus a few staff members, Mains said. That included about 35 players and staff. He said manager Ray Smith and coach Jeff Reed were not on the bus because they make their permanent residence in Elizabethton.

"We have a team meeting on some housing issues and then the team will have the rest of the day off to get familiar with the town. He said the team will have an early morning meeting on Wednesday on housing matters and will be working out in its new stadium the rest of the day. There will be a media session at 3:45 p.m. and a picnic for the players and supporters around 7:30 p.m.

Although it was a hectic morning, Mains took a breath and said, "I am just glad everyone is okay."

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