‘Please let me have had a green light’: Witnesses say Holy Cross coach caused deadly crash


WORCESTER, Mass. (WPRI) ─ The head coach of the Holy Cross women’s rowing team may be to blame for the crash that took the life of a record-holding team member, according to a police report obtained by Eyewitness News.

Patrick Diggins, 55, was behind the wheel of the van involved in the crash, which killed 20-year-old Grace Rett and injured 11 others, the police report said.

A responding officer reported hearing Diggins “making spontaneous utterances” moments after the crash.

“Did I have a green arrow? God, please let me have had a green arrow,” Diggins said, according to the police report.

Witnesses reported seeing Diggins turn left into oncoming traffic prior to the fatal collision in Vero Beach, Florida. The women’s rowing team had been there for a week-long winter training camp.

The driver of the pickup involved in the collision said Diggins appeared “to be looking down and not looking at the roadway as he pulled out in front of his vehicle,” according to the police report.

An assistant coach in a second van behind Diggins said that while the light was green, she did not see a green arrow for a left onto the bridge, the report said.

Rett, who had been sitting in the passenger’s seat, was pronounced dead at the scene. Diggins, the other driver involved and 10 team members were rushed to the hospital with varying injuries.

Rett, a sophomore English and psychology major from Uxbridge, Mass., had recently set a world record last month for indoor rowing, reaching a total of 383,000 meters over more than 62 hours.

The crash remains under investigation by Florida authorities.

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