The basketball player, Lorenzo Charles who settled N.C. State’s 1983 NCAA championship with a game-winning dunk, died on June 27 in the afternoon in a bus accident on Interstate 40. He was the driver of an Elite Tours bus that crashed at exit 290 close the I-40/N.C. 54 interchange in western Raleigh.
A Raleigh police spokesperson, Jim Sughrue, corroborated Charles was the bus driver.
Firefighters used the jaws of life to remove the body of Charles from the bus.
The crash blocked two lanes of westbound Interstate 40 at Chapel Hill Road in West Raleigh throughout rush hour traffic.
The rumors of the death of Charles spread rapidly and extensively between Wolfpack followers and others whom he had contacted.
Mark Gottfried, new NCSU head basketball coach played against Charles in the 1985 NCAA competition. The two recalled regarding that game, a Wolfpack win, when Charles visited the latest coaching staff previous week on campus.
Gottfried said, “He had a big smile on his face, and he was so full of life. We lost a great one, and I’m not just talking about the basketball player. He had a great personality.”
Charles’ reach in the world of sport went further than his involvement on the court. He drove for the Duke Lacrosse team and turned into a component of the family, according to Coach John Danowski. Danowski had Charles speak to the team throughout the NCAA tournament in 2010, prior to the Blue Devils won the national title.
Danowski added, “It’s great that he scored that winning basket, but he was so much more than that. Everyone here loved him. We are all heartbroken.”
Gotfried tweeted his condolences Monday night, “My heart goes out to the family of Lorenzo Charles. We lost a great person. Just reconnected last week. Will never forget his smile!”