Basketball bus back on track

By Kayli Plotner

After being stuck on the side of Interstate 57 near Tuscola for more than four hours, the SIU men’s basketball bus has been winched out of the ditch and en route to a truckstop.

The bus was on its way back to Carbondale after a loss to Illinois State. Interstate 57 was put on a tow ban around 4 p.m., and the bus has been stranded since roughly 6:15 p.m.

A dispatcher from Reynold’s Towing of Champaign reported that tow trucks’ assignments’ were backed up for three to four hours.

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“When we get weather like this, we can’t chance getting our own trucks stuck,” he said. “It all depends on how soon we are allowed on the roads by the department of transportation and the police. In all honesty, that bus should have never been on the road.”

Several players tweeted their reaction to being on the bus. Reports stated the teammates were watching movies and had plenty of food and gasoline.

http://espn.go.com/mens-college-basketball/story/_/id/10249024/snow-strands-southern-illinois-salukis-interstate-57

Coach Barry Hinson was not on the bus with the team. He was in his vehicle roughly 20 miles ahead on a recruiting trip. Hinson said the Interstate was full of jack-knifed semis and wrecked cars for miles.

“Quite frankly the only reason we came home, we called before to make sure 57 was going to be open and they said 57 was going to be open the entire way,” Hinson said. “That’s why we we went ahead and came home, we felt like on the interstate would be OK. What happened it wasn’t so much the bad roads but visibility of the snow and the wind.”

Hinson said he never questioned the safety of his players.

“Whenever you travel on a bus like that, we’ve got a bunch of snacks, we’ve got a lot of Gatorade and water,” he said. “There’s never been a situation where we felt like anybody was in harm’s way.”

The team intends to travel home to Carbondale tomorrow once weather conditions permit.

Kayli Plotner can be reached at [email protected]

Tyler Dixon can be reached at [email protected]

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