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Blues Legend Bob Plager Died From Cardiac-Related Issue

Bobby Plager was an original member of the St. Louis Blues, joining the team as a defenseman in their inaugural season of 1967-68. He played 11 of his 14 years in the NHL in St. Louis, scoring 20 goals and notching 121 assists as a Blue.
5 On Your Side
Bobby Plager was an original member of the St. Louis Blues, joining the team as a defenseman in their inaugural season of 1967-68. He played 11 of his 14 years in the NHL in St. Louis, scoring 20 goals and notching 121 assists as a Blue.

Bob Plager, 78, died after a car crash Wednesday on Interstate 64 in St. Louis.

Updated March 26 with medical examiner report

Beloved St. Louis Blues legend Bob Plager died from a cardiac-related issue — not the injuries he sustained during a car crash Wednesday.

St. Louis City Medical Examiner Dr. Michael Graham said he is awaiting the results of some additional tests before he can officially call it a heart attack, but he said Plager's death was cardiac-related.

Around 1:30 p.m. Wednesday officers responded to the eastbound lanes of Interstate 64 for an "accident with injuries." Plager, 78, was rushed to the hospital and later died.

Police say Plager was driving eastbound on Interstate 64 when he veered to the left and struck a Dodge Grand Caravan. After hitting the Dodge, Plager’s car struck a concrete wall then crossed the highway and hit the concrete center median.

The driver of the Dodge, a 46-year-old woman, and passenger, a 20-year-old woman, were not injured.

Original story from March 24:

Multiple police sources and a St. Louis Blues spokesperson have confirmed that St. Louis Blues legend Bob Plager has died after a crash Wednesday afternoon on Interstate 64 near Vandeventer in St. Louis.

Around 1:30 p.m. officers responded to the eastbound lanes for an "accident with injuries" call. Police said a man was rushed to the hospital and has since died.

Sources later confirmed with 5 On Your Side that Plager was the victim who died in the crash.

The Blues released a statement on Plager's passing Wednesday evening:

“It is unimaginable to imagine the St. Louis Blues without Bob Plager. He was an original 1967 member of the St. Louis Blues, but also an original in every sense of the word. Bobby’s influence at all levels of the Blues organization was profound and everlasting, and his loss to our city will be deep. Bobby liked to say he was No. 5 in our program, but No. 1 in our hearts. Today, our hearts are broken, but one day they will be warmed again by memories of his character, humor and strong love for his family, our community, the St. Louis Blues and generations of fans who will miss him dearly. The St. Louis Blues send all of our love and support to his family, and we hope everyone will find strength knowing that Bobby got his parade.”

Preliminary information from police indicates it was a two-car crash. The occupant of the other car, a woman who is believed to have been the driver, was taken to the hospital with minor injuries.

The accident reconstruction unit has been requested and will handle the ongoing investigation.

Plager was born on March 11, 1943 in Kirkland, Ontario in Canada. He was an original member of the Blues, joining the team as a defenseman in their inaugural season of 1967-68. He played 11 of his 14 years in the NHL in St. Louis, scoring 20 goals and notching 121 assists as a Blue.

Plager had his No. 5 retired by the Blues in 2017, and it hangs in the rafters alongside his brother, Barclay's retired No. 8.

The highway was closed for about three hours. Lanes began reopening at about 4:30 p.m.

Christine Byers is a reporter and Dori Olmos and Cori Miller are producers for 5 On Your Side, a news partner of St. Louis Public Radio.

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