A South African rugby star died in a car crash in Texas on Friday when a teenager fleeing a traffic check rammed his car, local authorities said.
Pedrie Wannenburg, 41, was inside his car with his wife Evette and their daughter Isabelle and son Francois at the time of the collision, which took place when cops attempted to stop the 16-year-old driver at outside of Houston, according to the Harris County Sheriff’s Office.
Wannenburg’s 8-year-old son was airlifted to hospital in critical condition. His wife and 10-year-old daughter were not injured.
The driver struck three vehicles, and a fourth that was unable to stop in time also collided with the scene, Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said. A total of six people were hospitalized, according to local firefighters.
“One of our units attempted to carry out a roadside check in Greenhouse Rd and Little York when the vehicle got away. The suspect vehicle then struck two other vehicles,” Gonzalez said in a statement on Twitter.
Gonzalez identified the sole fatal victim of the crash as Wannenberg and said his wife and 10-year-old daughter were not injured in the accident.
Her 8-year-old son remains in critical condition with “mildly threatening injuries”, Gonzalez said.
The 16-year-old suspect has been identified as Ali Alabadi. He was going 100 miles per hour at the time of the accident, the Houston Chronicle reported.
The sheriff’s deputy who prosecuted Alabadi after a 5:45 p.m. traffic stop “is still talking to the DA’s office” about the circumstances of the lawsuit, said Maj. Quincey Whitaker of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, according to the Chronicle.
The teen was charged with murder, reckless aggravated assault causing grievous bodily harm and aggravated assault causing bodily harm, the sheriff’s office said.
Wannenburg played 20 times for Springbok – South Africa’s national ruby team – between 2002 and 2007, and was close to being selected for South Africa’s World Cup-winning squad in France.
He went on to win three titles with the Pretoria-based side in 2007, 2009 and 2010.
Wannenburg was based in Texas, coaching Austin Elite Rugby and was the head coach of Rice University Rugby Club.
With post wires
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