Two Loyola Marymount University (LMU) student athletes were among four people killed in a one-vehicle accident Friday, August 5th, while the students were en route to a vacation at Lake Havasu, Arizona, LMU and law enforcement officials said.
Adam Bacon, 21, a men’s cross-country runner, and Jessica Hanson, 20, a women’s soccer player, suffered fatal injuries when the van in which they were riding experienced a left-rear tire failure and rolled over, ejecting three of the seven passengers, a spokesman for the California Highway Patrol (CHP) said.
The cause of the accident is still being investigated.
The accident occurred at 10:45 a.m. on the eastbound side of Interstate 40, about 40 miles west of Needles, the CHP spokesman said.
Hanson and Bacon were traveling with Hanson’s family when the accident happened.
Four passengers were killed at the scene. Three other injured passengers, including the driver, were taken to the University Medical Center of Southern Nevada in Las Vegas, the CHP spokesman said.
Hanson, a psychology major, and Bacon, a business administration major, were both about to enter their senior year at LMU.
“This is obviously a tragic time for Jessica and Adam’s families, as well as the Loyola Marymount community,” LMU athletic director Bill Husak said. “Our prayers go out to the families of Jessica and Adam. Both typified the best of LMU student athletes and this world was greatly impacted by them.”
The deaths of the two athletes occurred only eight days after a high school player from New York collapsed and died outside the LMU Gersten Pavilion following an Amateur Athletic Union game.
Hanson and Bacon were scheduled to begin their final seasons this month. The first practice for women’s soccer was scheduled for Wednesday, August 10th, while men’s cross-country was scheduled to begin training Sunday, August 21st.
Scott Guerrero, men’s cross-country coach, said the runners are still trying to cope with the news of the deaths and have been supporting each other through the difficult time.
“We’re obviously devastated,” Guerrero said. “Several of the team members are in town over the summer and have gotten together quite a bit to support each other. It’s still very sad.”
Gregg Murphy, women’s soccer coach, said Hanson was “the most loved person on our team,” which made her death more difficult for the players to deal with.
“They’re a very strong bunch of young ladies, but they’re just devastated,” Murphy said. “She was just a tremendous person.
“We’ve lost a great young lady.”
Bacon, a graduate of Coronado High School, was named cross-country team captain for the upcoming season.
During his three seasons with the LMU cross-country team, Bacon grew into the role of team leader, Guerrero said.
“He was our number-one guy,” Guerrero said. “All of the younger folks looked up to him.
“He really dedicated himself to making himself better and he did.”
Last year Bacon helped lead the Lions to their fastest team time ever and highest finish at the West Coast Conference Championships since 1991.
“He was always about the team,” Guerrero said. “He understood what it meant to be a leader and about what we needed to get better.
“We had our best year in school history this past year with him leading the charge.”
Hanson, a graduate of Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy, was also a key contributor for her team as a three-year starter at midfield or defense.
“She got better every day on the soccer field and in the classroom,” Murphy said. “She always worked on improving her game and herself.”
This summer Hanson played for the United States Amateur Soccer Association National Select Team, competing in Mexico against the Mexican National Team.
“She was naturally very good on the ball,” Murphy said. “She would glide by defenders like they were not even there.”
The LMU community is planning a campus memorial service for Hanson and Bacon, but a date and time have not yet been determined.
According to the LMU Web site, www.lmu.edu, the Bacon family has announced that the memorial service for Adam is scheduled for Thursday, August 11th, at St. George’s Episcopal Church, 14 Rhode Island Ave., Newport, Rhode Island.
The family has asked that donations be made in Adam’s memory to the LMU men’s cross-country program.
Arrangements for Hanson’s service are yet to be determined, according to the LMU Web site.
Donations can be made to The Hanson Family Fund Holy Family Church, c/o Theresa Shaw, 1501 Fremont Ave., South Pasadena 91030; (626) 799-8908.