Montreat College coach critically injured in Black Mountain wreck

Montreat College has confirmed its track and field coach was critically injured in Monday's wreck in Black Mountain.

Britten Olinger was one of five people injured in the multivehicle wreck. Montreat College said he's in critical condition at Mission Hospital.

According to Nancy Quesenberry, Olinger's sister, his lungs aren't inflating after taking the brunt of the accident to his chest. She said, until his lungs fill, doctors cannot fuse his severed spinal cord. Olinger also has fractures in his lower back, a broken left arm and a small brain bleed. Quesenberry doesn't believe her brother will be able to walk again.

Police said the wreck happened Monday evening after driver Kyle Carney exited Interstate 40 Westbound onto Highway 70 at a high rate of speed and slammed into another vehicle at the intersection of Montreat Road and State Street.

Carney has been charged with careless and reckless driving and other related traffic offenses, pending further investigation. He was transported to Mission Hospital with serious injuries after the crash.

According to Montreat's website, Olinger was hired as head coach of the men's and women's teams in 2016. He previously worked at Eastern Mennonite University.

While many of Olinger's athletes are having a hard time understanding why this happened to their coach, they're finding comfort in doing the very thing he's trained them to do: run.

"When I run, I clear my mind. And so this is hard for us. It's hard for everyone in the school," Frank Bartholow said.

"We're runners, and we do this on a regular basis. We do it because it helps us out. It is a way of stress relief," Jacob Parker said.

Despite the heavy rain Tuesday afternoon, Parker and Bartholow decided to run, although their practice was canceled.

"I'm actually glad it's raining out because it's comforting just being out here. Because it's peaceful," Bartholow said.

A GoFundMe has been posted to help with medical costs. Those who would like to donate but don't want to use GoFundMe may e mail BrittenStrong@gmail.com.

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