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YSU sophomore survived accident

John Barnes looked at his phone. It was Tim Lupardus.

“When I get a call from a parent at that time of the evening, it’s usually not a good situation,” said Barnes, the Youngstown State University women’s basketball coach.

Tim’s daughter, Gabby, was in a car accident. Gabby, a sophomore guard on the YSU team, was traveling home the night of Oct. 12.

Gabby’s car, a Subaru Impreza, was hit on the rear driver’s side. The other driver was driving a Ram truck. She was driving back to YSU’s campus and was just past the Waynesburg, Pa., exit on Interstate 79. Lupardus knew she had lifting the next day.

It was bit of a late start for her, considering the trip is five hours from her home in Pineville, West Virginia, to Youngstown. She was about an hour and a half from YSU’s campus when the accident occurred.

The driver of the Ram truck was in the left lane, while Lupardus was in the right. She had a second or two before she saw him and the truck made impact.

All she could do was embrace the shock.

“A lot happened after the impact,” Lupardus said. “He was in the road for a long time and I fishtailed. He kind of drove up the side of my car a little bit. I think that stopped me from wrecking more. I was able to hit my brakes, I guess, and stop. I drove off the side of the road. He went to the side of the hill.

“We were about 50 yards away from each other. I never saw him, he never saw me. People pulled over and saw the wreck. They made sure he didn’t leave the scene. He tried leaving the scene, but they were pretty helpful.”

Gabby couldn’t find her phone once her car stopped alongside I-79. Tim’s name was on the car’s Bluetooth.

“My first words were, ‘I think I’m OK,'” she said. “He was 3 hours away, but he was out the door in 30 seconds.”

Gabby sat out Wednesday’s practice last week, still sore from the impact of the accident. Barnes said Lupardus just being at practice is a blessing.

“Thankfully, we knew she was OK right away,” Barnes said. “For the team too, it would’ve been devastating if anything serious happened to her. Very thankful she’s going to be OK. Being that banged up, it’s going to take her a little time to get over the impact. We’re all thrilled she’s OK.”

This situation has given Lupardus pause going forward.

“It’s definitely made me have a higher thankfulness and gratefulness of everybody and everything,” she said. “It’s amazing. In that one second you see everything happen. You can’t do anything about it. You never know what’s going to happen. For me to be here, 48 hours later, is crazy.”

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