College baseball coach in good condition after crash - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

S.C. woman charged in crash that injured college baseball coach

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

A popular college baseball coach was critically injured after officials say he was involved in a crash along Interstate 77 in Charlotte on Tuesday night.

Thursday the hospital reports Dick Cooke is in good condition.

The N.C. Highway Patrol charged Brittany Alana Fitch, 27, of Clover, S.C. with driving while impaired, driving with license revoked and reckless driving.

The crash, which happened along Interstate 77 north near Interstate 485 and WT Harris Boulevard, sent at least two cars off the highway around 9:20 p.m. Tuesday night.

School officials say Davidson College baseball coach Dick Cooke was injured in the crash, which sent both vehicles into a wooded area. Cooke was reportedly struck from behind by Fitch.

Cooke's wife, Susan, described her husband's injuries.

"He's got some bleeding on his brain," the wife said. "But according to the scan, it's improving and he has cracked ribs, lung issues, a tube in his chest and his leg broken in four places."

MEDIC told WBTV News that they took two people to Carolinas Medical Center- Main to be treated for serious injuries.

Troopers said they suspect alcohol was involved in the crash. The investigation is ongoing.

The wife knows with alcohol involved the accident could have been much worse.

"I think we have been incredibly, incredibly lucky ," Ms. Cooke said. "So I am grateful."

Cooke, who lives in Davidson, has coached the Davidson Wildcats baseball program for 22 years. His wife says on the night of the accident the coach was heading home after visiting a baseball recruit.

Despite the serious injuries the wife reports her husband is almost back to normal.

"He was cracking jokes by yesterday afternoon," the wife said. "He was entertaining the nurses"

Members of Davidson's baseball team were also concerned. They are relieved to know their coach is expected to make a full recovery.

"You look in their eyes," Davidson College Athletics Director Jim Murphy said. "And they were very, very concerned - not sure what was next. So what we do is calm their fears and let them know they have a part in his recovery."

And that part to the coach's recovery is stepping up while Cooke is gone.

"The seniors are going to have to step up," Murphy said. "And they are going to be times when the players need to be coaches on the field, and I expect them to act maturely. They know what it takes to get ready to be successful and I want them to do it without being told."

In the summer of 2008, Cooke made his second appearance in the Olympics with Team USA baseball in Beijing, where he served as an auxiliary coach. He served as an auxiliary coach for Team USA at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia. They won a gold medal.

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