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Bluffton AD critical; hit by principal’s car

2 had been kidding around in parking lot

Bluffton High School’s athletic director remained in critical condition Friday after he was hit by the school principal’s car in the school’s parking lot.

The athletic director, Steve Thompson, suffered a severe head injury Thursday morning when what witnesses and police described as a joking exchange with the school’s principal went horribly wrong and Thompson was knocked to the ground by the principal’s car, according to the Bluffton Police Department.

Police Chief Nathan Huss said there were meetings at the high school and middle school Thursday morning in preparation for the start of the school year Monday, and some staff walked between the schools for the meetings while others drove.

The high school principal, Steve Baker, was one of those who drove to the middle school, and Thompson, along with a group of employees, walked, Huss said.

Employees were headed back to the high school after the meeting at the middle school finished, which is when Thompson was injured.

As the group walked through the parking lot, Baker drove up behind them and honked his horn.

Huss stressed there was not any indication Baker honked in anger and it was more of a joking beep.

Thompson had a gym bag with him, which he then tossed on the hood of Baker’s car, Huss said.

As Baker went to drive around the group, Thompson inadvertently stepped into his path and was knocked to the ground, Huss said.

Thompson was transported to Lutheran Hospital in critical condition with a severe head injury.

He was listed in critical condition late Friday afternoon, according to the hospital.

A Bluffton-Harrison Metropolitan School District statement said officials were saddened by the incident and requested a copy of the police department’s report after the investigation is finished.

Thompson, whose coaching experience goes back to 1992, started with the district in 2001 as a business education teacher at the high school and middle school and was named athletic director in July 2006, according to the school’s website.