Tuesday, July 30, 2013

OSG High: 3 Dead In Fatal New Mexico Rollover Includes TAMU And Utah Players (UPDATED)


Three teens including a freshman football player at Texas A&M died in a car accident in New Mexico just north of Albuquerque near the town of Cuba.

Polo Manukainiu was driving back from Utah Monday night. He was a two-time all-district defensive end for Euless Trinity High School.

Before the trip he tweeted, "22 hour drive back to Texas on no sleep. Oh my," around 5:30 local time Monday afternoon.

On his twitter feed, there were those who wished that he would be careful including one message that said: Pull over & get some sleep. We don't need another tragedy. Be safe & God bless. #gigem

According to Emmanuel Gutierrez of the New Mexico State Police, five people were in a Toyota SUV (pictured right, thanks KRQE-TV) at the time of the crash. Two of them were ejected and the cause of the crash is still under investigation.

Utah football recruit Gaius Vaenuku and current Euless Trinity player Lolo Uhatafe were also killed. A fourth unidentified person has been airlifted in critical condition. The condition of the fifth person is unknown.

Reaction is starting to pour out of College Station...

"Heart hurts waking up to news about Polo.. I think I speak for everyone on our team when I say we love you brother you will be missed," A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel tweeted.

Manukainiu was a two-time All-District 6-5A defensive end in high school, and helped lead his team to an undefeated regular season as a senior. The redshirt freshman was a recreation, parks and tourism sciences major.

More when we know more...

1600 UPDATE: It appears, according to NMSP, that the older brother of Lolo Uhatafe was driving the SUV. 18-year-old Siaosi Uhatafe, and his father, Salesi were the two who were injured.

The New Mexico State Police said the driver, Siaosi Uhatafe, was the only person in the vehicle who was wearing a seat belt.

Here's reports from NBCDFW from Euless...

“We lost a terrific young man,” Texas A&M head football coach Kevin Sumlin said. “Polo was loved by his teammates and coaches. Anyone who came in contact with him was struck by his sense of humor and smile. My heart aches for his mom and family members.”

“Everyone who knew Gaius is heartbroken today,” said Utah football coach Kyle Whittingham. “He was the kind of young man who lit up a room and his future in football and life had no boundaries. Words cannot express our devastation over the loss of Gaius. This is a sad day not only for University of Utah football, but for everyone whose lives Gaius crossed or would have crossed but for this tragedy. Our hearts go out to Gaius’ and Salesi’s families, and to the Texas A&M coaches and players. We are praying for the speedy recovery of Salesi and his father.”

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