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Published: Friday, 3/9/2007

Bus crash claims 7th victim as Bluffton player dies of injuries

BLADE STAFF AND WIRE REPORTS

ATLANTA A baseball player from Bluffton University in Ohio died this morning, a week after he was injured in a bus crash that killed six other people, a hospital spokesman said.

Zach Arend, 18, had been in critical condition since the bus went off a highway overpass before dawn last Friday.

He died about 6 a.m., said Grady Memorial Hospital spokeswoman Denise Simpson. Arend s grandmother, Ann Miller, had said he had suffered chest and abdominal injuries, a fractured pelvis and collapsed lungs.

He had a great sense of humor, said Mike Engler, a sophomore who was a student manager for the team and suffered minor injuries in the crash. He got along with everybody.

Arend, 18, of Oakwood in northwest Ohio, was critically injured last Friday when a charter bus carrying the baseball team from Bluffton University plowed off an overpass onto Interstate 75. Four players, the bus driver and his wife died in the crash.

James Grandey, Bluffton's head coach, was listed in stable condition today in the intensive care unit at Piedmont Hospital. Two players remained hospitalized at Grady Memorial, one in critical condition and one in fair condition, Simpson said. Another player was in stable condition at Atlanta Medical Center.

Arend was a 6-foot-3 freshman pitcher who played at Paulding High School.

Arend s parents, Dana and Caroline, wrote in a family statement that he was a wonderful son. He loved baseball, and he loved being with his family and friends.

His mother is a first-grade teacher in the school district.

It s such a shock for so many people because he is so well known, Superintendent Bill Shugars said.

Bluffton University President James M. Harder announced Arend's passing at the school today.

We all grieve the loss of Zach Arend and ask for continuing prayers during this difficult time for his parents and family, as well as for all of Zach s teammates, President Harder said in a statement.

Funeral services were held this week for players Scott Harmon, Tyler Williams and Cody Holp, and for bus driver Jerry Niemeyer and his wife, Jean.

The funeral for player David Betts, of Bryan, is scheduled for 5 o'clock this evening.

Read more in later editions of The Blade and toledoblade.com.

• AP VIDEO/AUDIO: 911 audio from Bluffton bus crash

• View the updated photo gallery.

• KIRK CARTOON: Bluffton University

Interview & audio

Video interview with Bluffton s A.J. Ramthun

Audio of Bluffton University news conference



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