SPOKANE, Wash. --- The two men injured in a crash on Interstate 90 early Thursday morning are assistant basketball coaches at North Idaho College.
Emergency responders took Christopher Kemp, 29, by helicopter to Sacred Heart Medical Center. Another assistant coach, George Swanson, 46, was also taken to the hospital. Both are in serious condition as of Thursday afternoon.
WSP identified the driver of the car with the two men who were injured as Corey Symons, 41, the head basketball coach at NIC. There were two others inside the car, Richard Haugen, 61, who calls play-by-play for NIC, and Ameer Shamsuddin, 26.
The men were traveling to Portland for a recruiting a trip.
"It really is one big family. That's why they were all going on the recruiting trip together," said Al Williams, NIC Athletic Director.
According to Washington State Patrol troopers, the two men were hit by a jeep near exit 257 in Tyler, just past Cheney. WSP troopers said Symons had pulled off the right side of the road after hitting a deer. The five men inside the first car got out to try to move the deer from the road, according to WSP.
A tow truck at the scene pulled up behind the disabled car and had its flashers on. It was at that point, troopers said, another vehicle approached the scene and was unable to slow down. The jeep veered off to the right shoulder, WSP said, to avoid hitting the tow truck, and hit two of the men who had gotten out of the original car.
NIC's AD says the coaching staff are like a family. That's why all of them were traveling to Portland for a recruiting trip. pic.twitter.com/ppzfgk6r9Q— Taylor Viydo (@KREMTaylor) September 23, 2016
Haugen tweeted that they were not moving the deer at the time of the crash that hit the two coaches.
Swanson was hit nearly head on and was scheduled to have surgery on his leg Thursday night. Swanson has been with the Cardinals for three years.
"George is the ultimate motivator. The kids love him," said Williams.
The driver of the jeep also ran over Shamshuddin's foot. He was treated and released.
The accident comes during high times for NIC baskebtall. The team is coming off a record year of success on the court for the men's team. Heading into this seasons, it is now the coaches' off-court recovery that will certainly be hard to shake.
"They're all feeling this emotionally. It's a trying time for us, but we're going to pull together as a family and we wish them all well," said Williams.
It is not clear how long the recovery process for the coaches will take.
This story will be updated. A photo of Christopher Kemp was not immediately available.
(© 2016 KREM)