BOSTON (CBS) – A driver seriously hurt in a crash that killed a Holy Cross rower is now suing the college and its former coach.

On January 15, coach Patrick Diggins was driving the women’s rowing team in a van in Vero Beach, Florida when police said he drove directly into the path of an oncoming pickup truck at an intersection.

Grace Rett (Photo credit: Holy Cross)

Twenty-year-old rower Grace Rett was killed and several other teammates were severely hurt.

The pickup truck driver, Ronald Wolf, is now suing Diggins and Holy Cross, saying he suffered “severe, catastrophic and permanent injuries to his body” in the crash.

According to a police report, Diggins failed to yield right-of-way to oncoming traffic. The report said that after the crash, he asked officers if he had had a green arrow.

The report said Diggins turned left “while only having a green light indicator and not a green turn arrow.” He was cited by police a month after the crash.

The Holy Cross van after the crash in Vero Beach, Florida. (Image credit: WPEC-TV)

In his lawsuit, Wolf claims he saw Diggins “looking down and away from the oncoming traffic, presumably at a cell phone,” just before the crash.

The lawsuit also claims that “in the years leading to this tragic wreck, employees of Defendant Holy Cross expressed concern to Defendant Holy Cross regarding Defendant Diggins’ flippant driving habits and propensity to text while operating motor vehicles within the course and scope of his employment with Defendant Holy Cross.”

Diggins retired as head coach a month after the crash.

Patrick Diggins. (Photo Courtesy: College of the Holy Cross)

A Holy Cross spokesperson told WBZ-TV Tuesday that the college “generally does not comment on pending litigation”

“We will carefully review the claims and respond in due course,” she said.

Comments (3)
  1. Valerie Conway says:

    So sad for all involved. I can’t imagine, however, that it would be easy for the other driver to actually see driver Patrick Diggins “looking down and away from oncoming traffic” in this situation. Not sure that I agree but it will be left to the court to decide…

  2. mark says:

    cash in because he can. it’s the ay of the world.

  3. James says:

    I tend to believe this guy was legitimately injured by a driver who was negligent in his attentiveness at the wheel. If there is a history of this coach/driver being distracted by his phone while driving, he and the college deserve to be sued. The fact that Grace Rett’s family has not sued yet amazes me.

Leave a Reply