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April 6, 2007 E-MAIL PRINT Bookmark and Share

New Details in Death of Whitehead's Mother-In-Law

CHN Staff Report

The mother-in-law of Maine coach Tim Whitehead was killed in an automobile crash on Thursday, traveling on her way to St. Louis for the Frozen Four. Whitehead found out hours before the game, his team's 4-2 loss to Michigan State in the NCAA semifinal, but he did not inform his team until afterward.

According to police, Debra Smith, 57, was lying down in the back seat of her family's SUV when the accident occurred on I-70 in Ohio at approximately 5:30 a.m.

Whitehead's wife, Dena, left St. Louis to be with her family.

Smith's husband, Timothy Smith, 57, was driving the vehicle when he lost control on an icy bridge near Springfield, Ohio. The Smiths are from Medina, Ohio, a town west of Akron.

Police said the car hit a concrete retaining wall, then veered back into the westbound lanes, where it was hit by a tractor-trailer. Debra Smith was flown by emergency helicopter to Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton, Ohio, where she was pronounced dead.

Another passenger, Brad Smith, 34, was also in the car. He and Timothy Smith were taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

The driver of the truck was not injured.

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