ROXBORO, N.C. (WNCN) — The man who survived a fiery head-on crash in Person County earlier this week is a basketball coach at a Roxboro School.
The school plans to come together to help him and his family get through the tough recovery ahead.
Earl Bailey, 45, of Timberlake was in his SUV when it was hit head-on Monday afternoon by another SUV that was being chased by Person County deputies, officials said.
The driver of the other SUV died at the scene along U.S. Highway 501 at the Person-Durham county line.
Bailey, who is a popular JV basketball coach at Roxboro Community School, was hospitalized.
“I said a little prayer to myself … because I heard it was a bad crash,” said Pete Tuck, the school’s athletic director
But it wasn’t until later, when Tuck saw video of what happened, that he realized how narrow of an escape Bailey had.
“I came to find out and saw pictures on social media — it was a horrific crash,” Tuck said.
When the suspect’s vehicle slammed into Bailey’s SUV, a witness was amazed he’d survived the wreck.
“He got out (and) was actually walking around, so he was lucky,” said witness Kim Ball.
Bailey suffered broken bones.
“There was a moment when everybody was holding their collective breath waiting to hear that Earl was going to be OK,” said Natalie Brouzy, the executive director of Roxboro Community School.
Bailey has been with the school for three years.
“I was very pleased to hear Earl was not seriously injured – God was riding with him in that front seat,” Tuck said.
Bailey volunteers in his coaching role at the school.
“He has been coaching basketball program has continued to grow and experience success,” said Brouzy.
Brouzy says Bailey has taught students life lessons in addition to coaching.
Now, it’s time for some of the athletes to put one of those life lessons into action.
Because Bailey is a parent and a coach, school officials say they want to do something for him and his family as he recovers from his injuries after he leaves the hospital.
“Since his son is also a JV baseball player, we’re reaching out to our baseball families and see if they can provide a list of meals next week or however long the Baileys need someone to help them out,” said Brouzy.
The suspect in the crash is still unidentified, according to authorities. Deputies said they found a stolen gun inside the burned SUV.