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Manistee wrestlers safe after van overturns

February 10, 2019

MANISTEE COUNTY — Members of the Manistee wrestling team are safe and sound after a van carying wrestlers and coaches overturned Friday evening.

An assistant coach was traveling east on M-55 in a scholastic’s van carrying seven members of the team when he lost control on an icy hill, causing the van to tip over, according to head wrestling coach Darrell Burchfield.

Michigan State Police reported that the accident occurred at about 5:15 p.m. Friday just east of Colley Bridge.

The team was heading to Grayling to compete in Saturday’s MHSAA Division 3 individual district tournament in Grayling.

The team left on Friday to allow for additional time to check in at the motel and rest before the early Saturday morning weigh-ins.

Burchfield said he was driving himself in another vehicle about 20 minutes ahead of the team van, and turned around to reach the scene after receiving a cell phone call informing him of the accident.

“I called the school and got a wrecker and got with the principle, athletic director and superintendent, who all responded,” Burchfield said. “They were responsive and extremely supportive.”

Norman Township Fire and Rescue and North Flight EMS were called to the scene according to police reports.

Burchfield said everyone was safely extricated from the van.

The athletes and two adults were transported to Munson Healthcare Manistee Hospital as a precaution. After being examined for trauma, they were released, according to Burchfield.

No serious injuries were reported as a result of the accident.

“Actually, the school arranged for a bus to come pick us up at the hospital and take us over there (Grayling) Saturday night,” Burchfield added. “The guys got settled in around midnight.”

He said he appreciated the school’s support and noted that the team reached the tournament on time.

“We got there in time, everything was good,” he said. “The school supported us in an awesome fashion. I’ve been around coaching a long time. I’m not sure anyone else would have done what they did to support us in that situation, so I’m very thankful.”

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