A Florida college basketball coach died a week after suffering injuries in a head-on collision on State Road 85 near Northwest Florida Regional Airport. The Florida Highway Patrol says that the 51-year-old husband and father of three was driving with his wife when they were struck by another vehicle that crossed over three lanes and the median into oncoming traffic.
The victim, who had to be cut out of his car before being airlifted to a Pensacola Hospital, had coached the woman's basketball team at Northwest Florida State College in Niceville since 2010. He was a beloved member of the college community according to the school's athletic director, who described him as an excellent coach as well as "a friend to all students, faculty and staff and the communities of NWF."
The coach's wife suffered cracked vertebrae and ribs in the deadly car crash. She was able to leave the Fort Walton Beach hospital where she was treated to be with her husband in Pensacola.
The driver who allegedly caused the crash is a 53-year-old Ohio man. He was airlifted to a different Pensacola hospital, where he was reportedly in stable condition a week after the collision. His troubles are likely far from over. According to the FHP, they are now investigating the crash as a homicide. It was not reported whether the FHP has any information regarding what caused the man's car to travel from the southbound lanes to the northbound side of the road.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the family. As of Oct. 11, over half of the $35,000 goal had been reached.
Fundraising efforts can assist a family with burial costs, medical bills and other short-term needs as it deals with the loss of a loved one. They can also help provide much-needed emotional support during a difficult time. However, when a family member, particularly a breadwinner, dies, the long-term financial burdens on a family can become insurmountable. That's why, regardless of any criminal charges filed by the state, surviving family members can and should seek damages from at-fault drivers in civil court.
Source: Northwest Florida Daily News, "Community grieves passing of beloved basketball coach" Kari C. Barlow, Oct. 09, 2014