NLR Star Hill feared for his life during bus crash

A day after a wild pregame bus accident that hospitalized an assistant coach, North Little Rock star receiver K.J. Hill is glad to be alive.
“I ain’t gonna lie, I  thought we were going to die,” Hill said Friday. “Everybody thought we were going to die. We were going so fast, it was slow. It puts things into perspective. You never know which game might be your last.”
North Little Rock athletic director Gary Davis to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Thursday night that the bus carrying the offense to a pregame meal at a local church was involved in a multi-vehicle accident on Interstate 40 at the JFK exit just before 4 p.m. The defensive bus was already at the church, but the offensive and junior varsity bus lagged behind.
An accident had already occurred and offensive coordinator Blake Pizan was driving the bus and was trying to avoid the cars. Hill, who was one 31 players who weren’t injured, was seated in the back.
“I felt the bus skirting across the road, and I looked up. [Pizan] said, ‘Everybody hang on,’” Hill said. “We barely missed another bus and were on two wheels because we were going so fast. Then, we hit the bridge, and [the impact] put the bus back on four wheels. After that, all you could see and feel was cars flying.
“We felt everything. We were back there flying everywhere. We went off the road, and hit a tree hard. Coach was uHILL003_r600x400nconscious. The tree stopped us and glass was everywhere. Players were yelling. We smelled brake fluid, so guys were panicking and running off the bus. Us in the back, we busted the window to get off.”
Hill, a University of Arkansas commit, said after he got off the bus he saw that Pizan, who was hospitalized for observation and released, had also made it off the bus and “was bleeding everywhere.”
“He had a big gash, and then we saw some older women that needed help, so we helped them,” Hill said. “One older woman had already wrecked. She was over there hurting. The people that we hit, they were on the side of the road and glass was everywhere. We helped them, too, until the ambulance came. We had to get a lot of glass off players.”
Hill said he was sure the season opener with Little Rock Catholic High School at War Memorial Stadium would be called off. However, coaches and school officials told the players the game would be on as scheduled after it was determined no players were injured. The game was delayed 30 minutes.
HIll said the players got on another bus and headed toward the elementary school building that serves as a temporary fieldhouse while a new on-campus stadium is being constructed.
“We were pretty shook up. I was wondering who was going to call the plays,” Hill said. “We got back [to the fieldhouse], and I was shaking when I called my mom. We were rushing to get ready and putting on our equipment, and they had some to-go plates for us. We were eating on the bus, but we really didn’t want to eat.”
Hill said the ordeal affected the Charging Wildcats’ play in a 17-7 win, in which Hill finished with 5 catches for 81 yards and a touchdown.
“It was in the back of our mind the whole time. You could tell, too,” Hill said. “You could tell something was wrong with the offense. We would have been flying around and nothing would have been wrong if [the wreck] hadn’t happened. We were shaken up and thinking we could have died. [The wreck] was a big part of us not looking right.”