PCA athletic director injured in car wreck|[10/27/05]

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 27, 2005

Porters Chapel Academy’s athletic director was in intensive care this morning at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson after a car accident Wednesday on Mississippi 467 in Hinds County.

Chris Etheridge, who had recently led the PCA softball team to the state playoffs, underwent several hours of surgery to address a problem with his leg, PCA headmaster Gwen Reiber said.

Reiber said she had been in contact with people close to Etheridge and that he came out of surgery at about 6:30 Wednesday night. He was expected to undergo more surgery on Friday, she said.

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Calls to the Mississippi Highway Patrol, the agency in charge of working the accident, went unreturned.

Most of the students at PCA knew of the wreck on Wednesday, Reiber said.

&#8220All we told them was that he was involved in a wreck and was in surgery,” Reiber said. &#8220The school day ended and we didn’t know anything else.”

Etheridge, a youth minister at Highland Baptist Church in Vicksburg, teaches four bible classes at PCA and coaches the girls’ fast-pitch softball and boys and girls basketball teams.

Etheridge is in his second year at PCA and has been the school’s athletic director since January.

The Lady Eagles basketball team was scheduled to play in the Central Hinds Tournament tonight, but Reiber said she was able to get the team out of the tournament.

PCA is not scheduled to play again until Dec. 3 against Veritas, but Reiber said she felt the recuperation time for Etheridge would be lengthy.

&#8220A number of the girls on the varsity basketball team were visibly emotional,” Reiber said.

E.J. Willis, the all-time leading scorer in Porters Chapel girls basketball history, has been assisting Etheridge so far and will continue to help with the team, Reiber said.

The boys team has yet to begin practicing because the bulk of the team is still playing football.

Porters Chapel’s football game against CM&I will be played as scheduled Friday night with kickoff set for 7:30.

Under Etheridge’s guidance, the Lady Eagles softball team won the Academy-A North State championship and earned the top seed in the state tournament.

After winning their first two games, the Lady Eagles entered the final weekend of the state tournament unbeaten. But two straight losses to Deer Creek and Franklin eliminated the team from championship contention.