Former North Carolina coach Sylvia Hatchell pleads guilty after crash that killed 89-year-old woman

Ryan Young
·Writer
·2 mins read

Former North Carolina women’s basketball coach Sylvia Hatchell pled guilty this week after she was involved in a traffic accident that killed an 89-year-old woman in January, according to the Associated Press.

Hatchell pled guilty to a misdemeanor death by vehicle charge on Tuesday, per the report, and was sentenced to 30 days. That sentence was suspended for six months of unsupervised probation. She was also ordered to complete 50 hours of community service and was assessed a $150 fine.

Hatchell hit woman in a fitness center parking lot

Hatchell told police that she was making a left turn out of the parking lot at a Durham, North Carolina, fitness center in January when she struck Betty Colby with her driver-side mirror, according to the News & Observer.

Colby, 89, was knocked backward and hit her head on the pavement. She was transported to a local hospital and died two days later.

Neither impairment nor speed were factors in the accident, police said.

“This is a devastating tragedy and I cannot pretend to imagine what Mrs. Colby’s family is going through,” Hatchell said in a statement in January, via the News & Observer. “My heartfelt and deepest sympathies go out to them and I pray that they be shown God’s grace during this difficult time.”

Hatchell led the Tar Heels from 1986-2019. She led the program to eight ACC titles, one national championship and 751 wins throughout her time in North Carolina. She has 1,023 total wins in her career as a coach, the sixth-most all-time in women’s basketball.

Hatchell, 68, resigned last year after an investigation alleged that she had made racially insensitive comments to her team, pressured players to play while injured and even referenced a noose in an effort to try and motivate her players. She has denied all of those allegations.

Former North Carolina coach Sylvia Hatchell was pulling out of a fitness center in January when she accidentally hit an elderly woman with her car. The woman died two days later. (AP/Tony Gutierrez)
Former North Carolina coach Sylvia Hatchell was pulling out of a fitness center in January when she accidentally hit an elderly woman with her car. The woman died two days later. (AP/Tony Gutierrez)

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