CMU professor killed in car accident Tuesday on U.S. 127
Robert Randall Cooley, a fixed-term faculty member in the department of physical education and sport, died in a car accident Tuesday on U.S. 127.
Cooley, 69, was one of three people killed in the accident when his southbound Oldsmobile van was struck by a northbound Chevrolet Silverado that crossed through the median.
According to a report from the Lansing State Journal, Larry Salzwedel, 55, and his wife Wilda, 48, of Elsie, were in the Chevrolet Silverado that crossed the median from northbound U.S. 127 to the southbound lanes and struck an Oldsmobile van shortly after 3 p.m. Tuesday.
Department chairman Scott Smith said nobody at CMU knew of Cooley’s death until he missed a class.
“I don’t know many details,” Smith said. “We didn’t know until he missed a class (Thursday) morning. He was on his way home from teaching classes here.”
Cooley worked for more than 30 years in physical education in the Okemos school system. He retired last year and worked at the Center for Enhancement of Physical Education Programming at CMU. Cooley’s job there was to work with Michigan school districts and help improve their physical education programs.
Cooley was teaching three classes this semester.
Smith said a temporary measure is in place to continue teaching Cooley’s classes.
“The first thing we had to do was cancel his classes,” Smith said. “Now, we’re working on how to cover his classes for the rest of this semester and in the spring. We will probably, most likely, cover his classes with full-time faculty. Three faculty members are each going to pick up one of his classes.”
Smith said he didn’t know Cooley very well personally, but professionally admired him.
“He wasn’t here a long time, but while he was here he had a large impact,” Smith said.
According to an email from CMU, a funeral service will be held 11 a.m. Saturday at Mt. Hope Church, 202 S. Creyts Road in Lansing. Visitation will begin at 10 a.m.
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