Basketball star dies in interstate crash

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ETSU center killed near Waddy

By Lisa King

Rain-slick roadways are being blamed by police for the death Wednesday of an East Tennessee State basketball star on I-64 in Shelby County.


Seth Coy, 19, a 6-foot-11 center for ETSU, was traveling westbound near the 38- mile marker at about 6 p.m. when he lost control of his 1997 Monte Carlo, Shelby County Sheriff's Detective Jason Rice said.

"We believe that water in the roadway caused him to hydroplane and lose control," he said.

Rice added that Coy's car ran off the road and struck the embankment on the median, which caused the vehicle to roll twice.

Coy, who was not wearing a seat belt, was ejected from his car during one of the "flips" Rice said.

Coy was pronounced dead at the scene by Shelby County Deputy Coroner Janet Morris.

Alcohol or drugs is not suspected as a factor in the crash, Rice said.

"It appears from witness statements and the roadway evidence that water pooled and once the vehicle struck that water, it caused it to exit the roadway," Rice said. "We have had numerous accidents in that same spot."

Flooded roadways wrecked havoc all through the county on Wednesday, especially in the Simpsonville area.

The Sentinel-News issued a flooded road advisory on its Website that morning after police closed several roads that were under water, notably, Scott Station, Anderson Lane, Nolan Pike, Harrington Mill Road and Antioch Road.

Simpsonville Fire Chief Walter Jones said firefighters responded to a call of a motorist trapped by floodwaters on Anderson Lane, but the driver had already been rescued when firefighters arrived.

"A farmer got him out of the car with his tractor," Jones said.

Road Department Supervisor Carl Henry said the water didn't recede enough to reopen the roads until about 4 p.m.

"We had almost six inches of rain within less than three days," Henry said, who was monitoring weather radar at the road department. He added that flooded roads are typical with that much rain.

"Most of the people who live out there know what to expect," he said. "It's not a drainage issue. We just  have a lot of creeks. The Bullskins [creeks] flood first, then Clear Creek and Guist Creek.  When I went out to check the dam at Lake Shelby, water was pouring into Clear Creek," he said.

Law enforcement and fire officials said they had no reports of water-related accidents other than the Anderson Lane incident and the fatality involving Coy.

Officials from ETSU say that Coy was on his way home to Montgomery, Ind., when the accident happened.

He played in 24 games as a freshman last year, averaging 10.8 minutes a game.

In a press release from ETSU, Coach Murray Bartow expressed his sorrow at Coy's death.

"Words cannot describe the sincere heartache everyone involved with ETSU athletics feels at this time, and our thoughts and prayers go out to Seth's entire family," he said. "This is just unbelievably heartbreaking."