Funeral held for Bluffton player killed in bus crash

Updated: March 7, 2007, 3:28 PM ET
Associated Press

ELIDA, Ohio -- Bruised and bandaged, college baseball players stood in a circle and hugged Wednesday at the funeral for one of their four teammates killed in a bus wreck.

Scott Harmon, a 19-year-old freshman at Bluffton University, was remembered as being passionate about sports and a prankster who was the life of any gathering.

"That sweet, funny smile," said Pastor John Tsironis of St. Paul's United Methodist Church. "That's how Scott was and how Scott wants to be remembered."

Throughout the service, photos of Harmon in baseball and football jerseys dating back to elementary school were flashed on a big screen for a crowd of about 2,000 in a gymnasium at Elida High School, where he graduated last spring.

His Bluffton teammates filled a row near the front, many weeping with their heads down, and at one point they gathered in the group hug.

"He was a fun guy to be around," teammate Jimmy McMonagle of Ida, Mich., said after Harmon's burial. "He was never mad. He was never upset. He was always smiling."

The team's bus plunged off an overpass Friday in Atlanta, killing four players, the bus driver and his wife and injuring the coach and other teammates.

Another funeral was to be held Wednesday in Columbus Grove for the bus driver and his wife, Jerome and Jean Niemeyer.

Investigators say the driver apparently mistook an exit ramp for a highway lane, continuing up it without stopping at the "T" intersection at the top of the ramp.

Coach James Grandey, 29, remained in serious condition Wednesday at Atlanta's Piedmont Hospital, and four players remained in two other hospitals.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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