SMSU Coach Injured, Baby Dies In Starbuck Crash
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MARSHALL, Minn. (WCCO) – A Minnesota college basketball coach was critically injured in a weekend crash, which took the life of his 5-month-old son.
Brad Bigler is currently in a South Dakota hospital, suffering from several broken ribs, an injured shoulder blade and a collapsed lung. He’s also grieving for his 5-month-old baby boy, Drake, who died.
Bigler’s wife, Heather, and her grandmother were also hurt in the crash. His two other children were in another car and were not injured.
The crash happened on Highway 29 and County Road 41 near Starbuck in western Minnesota. The family was on the way to a relative’s cabin.
State patrol troopers arrested 38-year-old Dana Schoen of Starbuck. They say alcohol was detected in his system, and it’s expected as a factor in the crash.
Under Brad Bigler’s direction, the Southwest Minnesota State University men’s team won the conference tournament last season.
Athletic director Chris Hmielewski saw Brad in a Sioux Falls hospital on Monday morning.
“We had a great conversation. There was obviously lots of tears,” said Hmielewski.
Five-month-old Drake Bigler died shortly upon arriving at the hospital.
“I believe he made it to the hospital and passed away in Heather’s arms,” said Hmielewski.
It was a goodbye the Bigler family never imagined. While on Highway 29 near Starbuck, an oncoming truck crossed the center lane. Heather tried to swerve to avoid it.
“And then as Heather recalls it, you know, it turned right back in to them. And she recalls going 55 mph, and there wasn’t time to break,” he said.
The Bigler’s car rolled. Heather suffered minor injuries, but her grandmother was critically hurt.
“Fortunately, the Bigler family has great faith and great friends and great family, you know, and has some communities here, both at SMSU and in the Marshall community to support them,” he said.