Former Kansas University basketball guard Brannen Greene, who has been based in White Plains, N.Y., the past six weeks as he trains for the 2016 NBA Draft, barely escaped a blazing car accident late Friday night in N.Y., and survived the ordeal with what appear to be only minor injuries, his dad, Jeffrey, said Saturday.
“Brannen was trapped inside a car as a (ride-sharing service) passenger following an accident at Major Deegan Expressway, Bronx, N.Y., and 233rd St., after arriving from Los Angeles where he had NBA team workouts,” Jeffrey said. “The car was struck from behind with so much force it immediately went airborne, came down on a guardrail (with Brannen in back seat), went airborne again and caught fire. It exploded no more than five seconds after he escaped through an opening in a shattered window,” Jeff added.
The driver in the front seat apparently was not injured seriously, though Jeffrey Greene said at least one person in the car that rear-ended the car Greene was riding in was apparently injured.
“Everything in the car — his phone, his computer, his luggage was burned and destroyed. The police said Brannen should not have survived. He walked away from it with a terrible headache, all-over body aches but for the most part he’s just dealing with mental trauma,” Jeff Greene said. “To think he survived this … he said when the car got hit he felt like he was asleep, dreaming. He said, ‘I could see all this fire and I was getting hot.’ He said, ‘I’ve got to get out. I couldn’t get out. I couldn’t find my seatbelt and the wraps. I got scared. I finally hit it and the seat belt came loose. I jumped out the window and started running. Five seconds later it sounded like a bomb (with car engulfed in flames).’
“He got up and walked to the Sprint store today (after getting ride back to his condo and a long night’s sleep) because he had no way of reaching anybody. He has no broken bones. He’s extremely lucky,” Jeff added.
Jeff Greene said Brannen did not go to the hospital immediately after the accident. He said he felt well enough to merely hitch a ride to his condo.
“The policeman that drove him was a basketball fan. He said, ‘Aren’t you that kid who plays for Kansas? Are you Brannen Greene?’” Jeff Greene said. “He said, ‘Yes sir.’ The policeman gave him a ride and told him he was lucky to be alive.”
Greene at his dad’s urging did go to the hospital on Saturday night to get examined. “He has checked out OK,” Jeff said. “Nothing’s broken. He doesn’t even want any pain meds. He’s back in his condo resting now.
“He told me, ‘Dad, I don’t care about belongings. I don’t care about the NBA practice jerseys I got (that burned). Dad I’m alive and I swear I’m not supposed to be here. I knew I was dead,’’’ Jeffrey related.
“To think they said five seconds after he climbed out of a window the car exploded … I could have gotten that call, ‘Mr. Greene can you and your family get to New York now?’ Knowing I’d have lost a kid for life. I started crying just thinking about it.”
Greene, a 6-8 guard from Juliette, Ga., recently completed his junior year at KU and declared for the NBA Draft. He’s considered a likely candidate to receive a free agent tryout and play for an NBA summer league team. The J-W attempted Saturday to acquire details of the accident from the Officer of the Deputy Commissioner Public Information, but has not received a response.