The bus carrying the Bethel University women's volleyball team back from a match near Milwaukee was involved in a head-on crash Saturday night that left two people in the other vehicle dead, a school official said.
Bethel Director of Athletics Bob Bjorklund said in an e-mail to faculty of the Twin Cities school that all players, coaches and the bus driver returning from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater are fine, "although definitely shaken up" from the collision in Rock County, about 7 miles west of Whitewater.
Bjorklund said he's been in touch consistently with Coach Gretchen Hunt and learned that two people in the car had died.
Hunt said that among everyone on the bus "there is anxiety, there is grief, and there is gratefulness all wound up together, and it's going to take some time to process all of that. We are deeply grieving for the friends and families of the crash victims."
Whitewater's football team was on its way back from a game in Eau Claire, came upon the scene shortly afterward and turned over one of their buses to the Bethel contingent, which stayed overnight in nearby Janesville.
A replacement bus was being arranged to bring the volleyball team back to Bethel on Sunday.
"A couple of our administrators were able to help the Bethel volleyball team take one of the football team's buses and acquire lodging in the area," said Whitewater athletic department spokesman Chris Lindeke.
"The group was traveling back with three buses. The third bus wasn't full, so everyone was able to fit safely onto the remaining two buses, even though it was a little tight."
Lindeke added that "as a department, we are certainly relieved that no one in the Bethel travel party was seriously injured in the accident."
The crash occurred about 8:10 p.m. on County Road N, just west of County Road KK in Lima Township, according to the Rock County Sheriff's Office.
A car heading east crossed the centerline and hit Bethel's chartered bus with 19 people aboard, the Sheriff's Office said.
The car's driver, Whitewater junior Savannah M. Sloniker, 20, of Waterford, Wis., and passenger Anthony Tre Shaun Payton, 22, of Whitewater, were pronounced dead at the scene, the Sheriff's Office added.
Investigators have not determined what caused the car to cross the centerline, said Sheriff's Sgt. Peter Falk.
"There was no indication of any impairment or anything like that," Falk said. "They weren't trying to pass anybody."