Cumberland U. asst. soccer coach killed in I-24 wreck - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Cumberland U. asst. soccer coach killed in I-24 wreck

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

The small campus of Cumberland University in Lebanon is mourning the death of soccer coach Eric Susewind.

Susewind, 28, died in an early Sunday morning crash on Interstate 24 near the Bell Road exit in Antioch.

The three-vehicle wreck occurred around 2:20 a.m., and investigators said it appears Susewind was driving his 2010 Nissan Versa westbound when he struck a 1993 Ford Ranger pickup truck in the rear.

After the impact, the Versa came to rest sideways in a traffic lane, while the pickup truck stopped several hundred yards away on the right shoulder of the interstate.

Shortly after, the Versa came to rest, it was struck on the driver's side door by a tractor-trailer. The tractor-trailer then pushed the Nissan about 100 yards. Susewind died at the scene.

Susewind was a four-year, stand-out soccer player at Belmont University, where he served as team captain and later as an assistant coach for five seasons before becoming an assistant at Cumberland.

His death has overwhelmed the 1,500-student school and its women's soccer team, which has a close-knit family atmosphere, according to athletics director Ron Pavan.

"They're in shambles right now. The head coach had to call each player, and it was hard. They loved him," Pavan said.

And the impact has been felt in parts of Canada, where several of the Cumberland soccer players are from and are now on summer vacation.

Dealing with this sad news won't be easy.

"Everyone hurts when someone else hurts," Pavan said.

Flags at the campus were at half-staff Monday. Final arrangements for Susewind have not yet been announced, but a service will likely be held later this week at Cumberland University.

The driver of the pickup truck in the crash, Juan Garcia, 20, of Nashville, received minor injuries and did not require medical transport. The driver of the tractor-trailer, Greg Sears, 58, of Kent, Ohio, was not injured.

A passenger in the tractor-trailer, Brandt Melerine, 30, of Covington, Louisiana, who was in the sleeper compartment at the time of the crash, received minor injuries and did not require medical transport.

The preliminary contributing factor appears to be a disabled vehicle in the roadway. Investigators said they do not believe that alcohol contributed to the fatal crash.

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