As members of the men’s and women’s crew teams boarded the buses to leave Fish Creek in Saratoga, N.Y. on Saturday afternoon, spirits were high. The Head of the Fish regatta had served the teams well: the first boat came in third in the men’s Collegiate Eight Division, the second boat was in first in the men’s collegiate Junior Varsity Eight Division, and the third men’s boat was third in the Junior Varsity Eight Division. Peter Chu ’14, who had been on the second boat, happily passed out sandwiches to his fellow teammates. As Chu was about to sit down, he heard a loud crash and jumped into the opposite aisle.
In an attempt to make a right turn when exiting the parking lot, the driver, who the University had hired before to drive sports teams to away games and races, had hit the lot’s security kiosk and caused the structure to topple. A parking attendant was inside the kiosk when the crash happened, although she was not injured.
“I look right and I see the roof of the [kiosk] in the window right next to me,” Chu said.
Inside the bus, shattered glass from the broken window sprayed onto Will Richmond ’14, who was seated in the row Chu had landed in. Richmond received several nicks on his hands from cleaning off the glass, but was otherwise unscathed.
“My face was fine,” Richmond said. “I had to go outside and get dumped with water. Mostly we were just irritated about having to spend three hours waiting.”
According to Chu and Peter Belmonte ’11, who was also on the bus, vehicles have hit the kiosk several times in the past, though the driver is reported as having gone 750,000 miles without an accident prior to this incident.
“The bus driver was concerned about the well-being of everyone on the bus,” said Chu.
“He really wanted to make sure everyone was okay,” he said.
In the aftermath of the accident, police cars, ambulances, and fire trucks came to the scene. The team had to wait an additional three hours for a new bus to come from Albany to take them back to campus.
“We got home at 10:30 p.m. instead of 7:30 p.m., causing four seniors on the bus to miss senior cocktails [events],” Belmonte said. “But from what it sounds like we had a more exciting evening than we might have had at a bowling alley anyway.”