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Occidental Player Dies in Crash

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Occidental College will open its baseball season at noon today, three days after a car accident killed the team’s starting shortstop and injured four other students, including an outfielder and two football players.

Greg Davis, an 18-year-old freshman from Colorado Springs, Colo., died Tuesday after the 1990 Mazda 929 in which the students were traveling drifted off southbound Interstate 15 and flipped. The California Highway Patrol is investigating the single-car accident, which happened three miles south of the Nevada border at approximately 6:45 a.m. as the students returned from Las Vegas. No alcohol or drugs were involved, according to a preliminary report by the CHP.

Davis, one of two passengers not in a safety-restraint system, sustained massive head injuries when he was thrown from the vehicle, the CHP said. He died as he was being airlifted to the hospital.

Andy Crocker, the 19-year-old freshman who was driving, was taken to University Medical Center in Las Vegas, along with passengers Emerson Nagle, 20, Jim Hart, 18, and Ted Helgert, 18.

Hart, a football player from Federal Way, Wash., and Nagle, a former baseball player from Carlsbad, remain in serious condition, a University Medical Center spokesman said. Nagle was the other passenger not wearing a seat belt.

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Crocker, an outfielder from Porterville, and Helgert, an All-Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference offensive lineman from Moreno Valley Canyon Springs, were treated for minor injuries and released. Crocker will not play this weekend and his return to the team is uncertain, school officials said.

The baseball team, which has embroidered Davis’ initials into their caps, voted to open the season as scheduled with a doubleheader today at home against Simpson College of Redding. The first game starts at noon. On Saturday, the team travels to Chapman College for a 1 p.m. game. There will be a moment of silence before the first game of the doubleheader.

“It’s hard to know whether to play or not,” Coach Jeff Henderson said. “The team has had a hard time over the last couple of days, but we got together as a team and decided to play to honor [Greg].”

Henderson said Davis was admired by his teammates and respected for his love of the game.

“He was an incredible young man,” Henderson said. “He loved baseball so much. The guys saw that and respected that. Because of that, I don’t think he will ever leave us.”

Helgert, a 6-foot-5, 280-pound lineman, was the only freshman selected to the All-SCIAC football team. He played primarily at tackle for the Tigers, who went 8-1 and won the conference title. Hart sat out last season because of an injury.

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Staff writer Peter Yoon contributed to this report.


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