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Published: Monday, 6/22/2009

Report: Golfer Chris Smith s wife killed in crash after visiting family in Toledo


ANGOLA, Ind. A coroner said Monday he was still trying to identify the person killed in a fiery weekend crash that critically injured two children of PGA Tour golfer Chris Smith and hurt several members of the London (Ontario) Silverbacks football team, including its owner.

Smith s wife, Beth Smith, was killed in Sunday s crash, according to The News-Sentinel newspaper in nearby Fort Wayne. Authorities said Monday they could not immediately confirm the report.

Steuben County Coroner Rodney Snyder said he was working to identify a badly burned body recovered from the crash site. The sheriff s department said the victim was a passenger in the front seat of a sport utility vehicle that smashed head-on into a Greyhound bus carrying members of the semipro team.

Smith s children, 16-year-old Abigail and 12-year-old Cameron, remained hospitalized Monday in critical condition, according to Fort Wayne s Lutheran Hospital. Brian Rice, manager of the Rock Hollow Golf Club in Peru that is owned by the golfer, confirmed that Smith s children were injured but could not confirm whether Beth Smith was killed.

Authorities said the crash occurred about 11:35 a.m. Sunday on Interstate 69 when the SUV carrying the Smiths went out of control and the driver overcorrected. The SUV crossed the median and collided with the bus. Police said Abigail Smith was driving at the time of crash and they were returning from a Father s Day visit with her family in Toledo.

Silverbacks owner Alan Lazar suffered internal and head injuries and was listed in stable condition Monday at Fort Wayne s Parkview Hospital. Eleven other passengers were taken to Cameron Hospital in Angola and 11 more were treated at the scene, police said.

An Indiana National Guard unit returning to Fort Wayne from drills in Michigan arrived at the site minutes after the crash and helped the injured, Angola Fire Department spokesman T.R. Hagerty said.

Chris Smith, 40, of Peru, Ind., made the PGA Tour in 1995 and won the 2002 Buick Classic. He has been a part-time PGA player in recent years and has been in only three 2009 PGA Tour events, missing the cut in this month s St. Jude Classic and finishing 13th at the Puerto Rico Open in March.

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