It has been more than 25 years since Iowa basketball player Chris Street tragically died in a car accident on January 21, 1993. A recent missed free throw by Jordan Bohannon has caused basketball fans across the country to remember Street. Bohannon chose to intentionally miss a free throw to preserve Street’s consecutive free throw record at Iowa. Street was just 20 at the time of his death.
The Daily Iowan recounted the tragic night.
At 6:49 p.m. on Jan. 19, 1993, a Johnson County snowplow collided with a car near the Highlander Inn, not far from the interchange of Highway 1 and Interstate 80. The car flipped onto its roof and slammed into a car waiting at a red light. Street was driving with Vinton in the passenger seat, on his way to a night class after a team meal.
James Winters, Street’s roommate, left the Highlander Inn with some teammates shortly after Street and drove past the crash. He didn’t think much of it at first…
“As we were getting on the entrance to I-80, I thought to myself and said aloud to the guys, ‘Hey, I don’t want to say this, but the color of that vehicle — that might have been Chris’ car, because that’s the same color as Chris’ car,’ ” Winters said.
Prior to the missed free throw, Iowa also honored Street’s legacy at a 2018 basketball game.
Learn more about Street, and the legacy he left behind.
1. Street Died in a Car Accident After His Car Collided With a Snow Plow
According to The New York Times, Street was on his way back to the Iowa campus after a team meal, when his car collided with a dump truck that had a mounted snow plow. His girlfriend at the time, Kim Vinton, was also in the vehicle, but survived the crash. The New York Times described the accident.
Street, 20, was returning to campus from a team meal at the Highlander Supper Club in Iowa City when his car collided with a dump truck mounted with a snow plow at about 7 P.M.
The collision occurred as Street was making a left turn onto Iowa Highway 1 on the northeast edge of town, said George Wine, Iowa’s sports information director.
The impact with the plow blade in the northbound lane sent the car across a median into the southbound lane, where it was struck by another car. Street’s car rolled and he was pronounced dead at the scene, Wine said.
2. Street Was Dating Kim Vinton, Who Was Also in the Accident
According to HawkCentral.com, Kim Vinton (now Williams) was thrown through car window during the accident, but survived the crash. According to wcfcourier.com, Vinton spent six days in the hospital after the accident recovering from a separated shoulder, punctured lung and broken ribs. The two had been dating since their sophomore year at Indianola High School.
Vinton described what Street was like in an interview with The Daily Iowan.
“We were at a grocery store, and a little boy came up,” Vinton told The Daily Iowan. “And Chris continued to talk to him and learn more about the little boy, knowing we had to be [in class] in five or 10 minutes. But that didn’t matter to him.”
3. Iowa Player Jordan Bohannon Intentionally Missed a Free Throw So Street Would Continue to Have the Consecutive Free Throw Record
Bohannon had made 34 consecutive free throws, but chose to miss a foul shot at the end of Iowa’s 2018 regular season finale against Northwestern. The miss means Street is still tied with Bohannon for the Iowa record of most consecutive made free throws.
“That record was not mine to have,” Bohannon told the Big Ten Network (via Yahoo Sports). “That record deserves to stay in his name. I’ve been really close with his family these past couple years. Getting to know them a lot and just listening to his story, honestly. It’s really got me emotional these past couple games because I’ve known what I wanted to do. Obviously it’s a different time than when I wanted to do it, but that’s something I wanted to do. Like I said, it’s been an honor to get to know his family.”
4. His Parents, Mike & Patty Street, Became Iowa Basketball Season Ticket Holders Again
According to The Daily Iowan, Chris’ parents, Mike and Patty Street, stopped going to Iowa basketball games after the death of their son. The memories were too painful, but this changed in 2012 when the couple purchased season tickets again.
“For the longest time, I couldn’t go to the games,” Patty Street told The Daily Iowan. “It just ate at my heart. It would bring back the good memories and the bad. But it’s enjoyable [now]. It still tugs at our hearts some, but not like it used to.”
5. Rival Iowa State Had a Tradition of Designating One Player to Wear Street’s No. 40 Jersey
After Street’s death, rival Iowa State created a tradition of designating one player from Iowa to wear the No. 40 jersey in honor of Street. Fred Hoiberg was the first person to wear the No. 40 jersey at Iowa State.
“I played with Chris on some different all-star teams,” Hoiberg told Iowa Athletics. “I developed a great relationship with him. If we had practice in Des Moines one day, and then had practice the next morning, I would stay at Chris’s house. We developed a very good bond. He was a special talent. He was a great player and even a better person. The way he worked and the way he approached things, you knew he would be successful at whatever he put his mind to.”
Source: Heavy Sports