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Ex-Indiana Player Injured in Crash

July 12, 1999

DURANGO, Colo. (AP) _ Luke Recker, a former Indiana basketball standout, was recuperating Monday after undergoing surgery to repair an ear severely lacerated in a fatal weekend car accident.

Recker, 21, also suffered facial cuts, but did not have a broken arm, as was initially reported, said Mercy Hospital spokesman Joe Wade Plunk. Recker was in fair condition.

``He’s resting peacefully in his bed. His parents are at his bedside,″ said Plunk.

``He’s going to be absolutely perfect,″ Clair Recker, the athlete’s father, told the Tucson (Ariz.) Citizen. ``There were no broken bones. ... There were some severe lacerations to the left ear area. An artery was hit, but he’ll be fine. He also sprained his left wrist. He’s very fortunate.″

Recker and four friends were injured in the three-car accident Saturday night on County Road 240 near Durango in southwestern Colorado. He was a passenger in a vehicle driven by John Hollbert, 23, of Senoia, Ga., who was killed.

Passenger Kelly Craig, 19, of Jasper, Ind., an Indiana student identified by Indianapolis TV station WRTV as Recker’s girlfriend, suffered a spinal fracture and partial paralysis, according to a Colorado State Patrol report.

Her brother Jason Craig, 17, a senior football player at Jasper High School, injured his head and spleen, the officials said.

Ms. Craig was in serious condition and Craig was in critical condition in intensive care at the San Juan Regional Medical Center in Farmington, N.M., said spokeswoman Rhonda Warden.

Arizona coach Lute Olson, who will coach Recker next year, said he was hoping for a full recovery for Recker and the Craigs.

``For something like this to happen to young people who have so much in front of them is just horrible and really puts life into perspective,″ Olson said in a statement.

Others in the Recker car identified by the Colorado State Patrol were Joanne McGurk, 18, of Durango, listed in serious condition, and Brian O’Hara, 23, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., who was in good condition Monday at Mercy Hospital.

They reportedly were among 17 people traveling to a carnival in Durango when a truck driven by Bob Hardwick, 21, of Durango drifted across the center line at about 70 mph, State Trooper Mike McGuire said. Hardwick and a passenger suffered facial cuts.

The truck sideswiped a pickup carrying 11 people in Recker’s group and collided head-on with the Ford Taurus in which Recker was a passenger.

None of the people in the pickup truck was hospitalized.

The patrol report stated that Hardwick was being held under $500,000 bond on charges of vehicular homicide, vehicular assault and drunken driving.

Recker transferred from Indiana to Arizona this year. He averaged 16.2 points and four rebounds last season as a sophomore forward for the Hoosiers.

Recker will sit out this year and will have two years of eligibility remaining.

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