Harbaugh aids motorist in I-94 crash

Candice Williams
The Detroit News

Jim Harbaugh, University of Michigan's head football coach, took on the role of good Samaritan on Tuesday when he helped two motorists in a rollover crash on Interstate 94 in Ann Arbor.

The 53-year-old driver of a 2003 Jeep Cherokee was on westbound I-94 when she lost control about 2:45 p.m. near Ann Arbor-Saline Road in slippery conditions, Michigan State Police said. The vehicle hit the center median wall, traveled up a snowy embankment and overturned onto eastbound I-94 lanes.

"(Harbaugh) was being a good citizen and helped at a crash scene," said MSP Sgt. Mark Thompson of the Brighton Post. "He stopped and helped, and that's a good thing."

The driver, who was wearing her seat belt, was partially ejected through the driver-side window. A 73-year-old female passenger was inside the SUV, strapped to her seat belt. Both were taken to St. Joseph Mercy Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Harbaugh and Jim Minick, the university's director of football operations, provided first aid and helped the partially ejected driver exit the Jeep, Michigan State Police said. They used coats to keep the injured passenger warm until EMS arrived, police said.

Harbaugh, who later boarded a plane to California where his family remains since he was introduced as UM's coach Dec. 30, was unavailable for comment. Michigan football began spring practice last week, but students are on break this week.

Harbaugh was headed to the airport with Minick when the two came upon the rollover accident, according to Michigan associate athletic director Dave Ablauf.

State Police Sgt. Mark Thompson declined to release the names of the women. MSP cited the driver for the crash, saying she was driving too fast for the road conditions.

The University of Michigan said in a statement late Tuesday that Harbaugh and Minick "were first on the scene and provided what assistance they could until medical personnel arrived.

"Our thoughts are with the individuals and all of us hope they make full recoveries."

At least one twitter user called Harbaugh a superhero.

"He our #CapedCrusader," one woman wrote.

The pair's good deed even drew attention from the state's lieutenant governor.

"Way to go@CoachJim4UM!" tweeted Brian Calley on Tuesday night.


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Detroit News Staff Writer Angelique S. Chengelis contributed.