Former NFL player DJ Hayden was among the six people killed in an early-morning auto crash in Houston, Texas, according to the University of Houston, his alma matter.
Hayden’s former UH teammates Zachary McMillian and Ralph Oragwu were also killled, per the school, while another former UH player, Jeffery Lewis, was injured.
“The entire University of Houston community is heartbroken over the tragic passing of former Football student-athletes D.J. Hayden, Zachary McMillian and Ralph Oragwu earlier today, and our thoughts and prayers remain with Jeffery Lewis in his recovery ahead,” the university said in a statement.
“While their combined talents provided Houston Football some of its most unforgettable moments, their unique legacies will best be remembered for the way they loved their teammates, supported their communities and defied the odds.”
The accident occured around 2am on Saturday when a Chrysler 300 traveling eastbound on Pierce Street at a “high rate of speed” ran a red light and struck an Acura SUV.
“The impact caused multiple persons in the vehicles to be ejected,” Houston police said in a statement. “The Chrysler left the roadway onto a sidewalk and struck a pedestrian, believed to be a homeless male.”
The driver of the Chrysler was pronounced dead at the scene, as were two of the three people ejected from the Acura and the male pedestrian.
Four others involved in the wreck were taken to nearby hospitals, where two others were pronounced deceased.
Houston assistant police chief Megan Howard said in a video statement that a female involved in the crash is in serious condition while a male involved is conscious and speaking with police.
“She has life-threatening injuries and there’s also a male at the hospital who investigators are interviewing right now,” Ms Howard said.
“We’re not sure who the driver was for the SUV. That will be determined through the investigation.”
A bystander sleeping near the homeless man who died described witnessing the crash.
"Literally, it sounded like two trains crashing together. I can still hear the sound in my head. It’s nerve-wracking," he told ABC13. "I was right next to him. I just had something in my gut telling me to get up, and I got up. But it could have been me."
Hayden made headlines in 2012 when he tore his heart during a collision in practice.
After being medically cleared, he was drafted 12th overall to the Las Vegas Raiders.
During his career with the Raiders, Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Washington Commanders, Hayden had 328 tackles, 4.5 sacks, 4 interceptions and 4 forced fumbles in 92 games, according to ESPN.