Friday 14 July 2023

Son of college basketball coach Fran McCaffery accused of causing 'unavoidable' accident which killed National Guardsman

 The youngest son of the University of Iowa men's basketball coach has been formally charged in connection with a traffic accident that ultimately killed a longtime Iowa National Guardsman.

On the afternoon of May 22, Sgt. First Class Corey Hite, a 45-year-old husband and father from Cedar Rapids, was out for a jog in Iowa City. At approximately 4 p.m. that day, he entered a crosswalk at the intersection of Melrose Avenue and Kennedy Parkway. At that time, 16-year-old Jonathan "Jack" McCaffery pulled up to the intersection, which was about a half-mile from Iowa City West High School, where Jack is a student. 

The details of what happened next are unclear, but at some point, Jack reportedly attempted to pass through the intersection and accidentally struck Hite. Hite was immediately transported to a hospital with serious injuries, including a pelvis fracture, multiple skull fractures, and holes in his lung and kidney. He remained in the hospital for almost two weeks before he was transferred to hospice care. 

"After much discussion, reflection, and prayer, the family made the very difficult decision to remove all lifesaving interventions that are keeping Corey alive," said a statement on the website Caring Bridge. Sadly, Hite passed away from his injuries on June 4. 

Teenage son of Iowa basketball coach Fran McCaffery cited in fatal

The following day, police released Hite's identity to the public. More than a month later, on July 12, police announced that Jack McCaffery had allegedly been the driver involved in the crash and that he has been charged with failure to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk, a simple misdemeanor that includes an enhancement because of the death involved. If convicted, the teen faces a fine of $1,000 and up to 180 days of a suspended driver's license.

After Jack's identity was released, Coach McCaffery and his wife, Margaret McCaffery, issued a statement through their attorney, Joseph Moreland. In the statement, the McCafferys claimed that the tragic accident was "unavoidable."

"Investigators have told us that it was an unavoidable accident with no evidence to suggest distracted driving," the statement read in part. "The pedestrian, who was jogging at the time of the accident, was waved in front of our son’s passing vehicle by the driver of another vehicle."

The statement also claimed that the McCaffery family is "devastated" by Hite's death and expressed their "deepest sympathies" to the Hites. The McCafferys said that they are still processing the event and have "no further comment at this time."

Hite's untimely death is truly heartbreaking. He and his wife, Karinda, had been married 22 years and had four children together. He had served in the National Guard for 27 years, where he dedicated himself to "improving diversity, equal opportunity, inclusion, and harassment prevention," his obituary said. He was just three weeks away from retirement. In his spare time, Hite enjoyed jogging, bowling, videogames, reading, and spending time with his family.

Like his brothers, Patrick and Connor, Jack McCaffery is a highly valued basketball prospect. ESPN listed the 6'8" upcoming junior as a four-star recruit. While his brothers played college basketball for their father at Iowa, Jack has expressed interest in playing college ball elsewhere.

Jack McCaffery has already paid a $288 unsecured bond and signed a promise to appear in court in connection to the citation. He has a court date scheduled on July 24. If he does not show, the court may enter a conviction and judgment against him, the Gazette of Iowa reported.

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