The deceased victim of a singular car crash on Interstate 5 in Federal Way, Tacoma, WA., early Saturday has been identified as Boston Celtics star Isaiah Thomas’ younger sister, Chyna J. Thomas.
Entertainment site The Wrap notes that the 22-year-old sibling of the East Coast-based basketball star, 28, lost her life after her 1998 Toyota Camry veered off the main drive of the road around 5 a.m., and slammed into a barrier that was fitted off to the side of the highway, before careening into a metal pillar.
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A witness to the fatal accident relayed to the New York Daily News that Isaiah’s sister appeared to be driving without any noticeable issue when suddenly, Thomas’ Camry started to head “very casually” toward the shoulder of the highway.
Washington State Patrolman Nick King echoed the pedestrian’s recollection of the accident in his statement to The News Tribune regarding Thomas’ untimely death.
“All of a sudden,” the officer relayed, “[Thomas’ car] started to drift very casually onto the left shoulder, [which] vaulted the vehicle head-on into the sign post.”
The car reportedly traveled about 50 feet partially off the roadway, before making contact with the barrier. Thomas was said to have been killed on impact and was publicly identified as the sister of Isaiah, the Celtics’ front guard, after her family was previously notified of the tragic news.
Crime scene investigators believe that Chyna, who noted herself as being an employee of Federal Express and a Tacoma’s School of the Arts alum on her Facebook profile, may have dozed off at the wheel. Additionally, police reports related to the incident make no mention of drugs or alcohol being a factor in the sport star sibling’s death, but it was noted that Thomas had not been wearing her seat belt at the time of the crash.
Isaiah was said to have been made aware of his sister’s passing following practice with his teammates sometime on Saturday afternoon.
“Thomas was talking to a reporter,” ESPN adds, “when Avery Bradley, a fellow Tacoma native” and Celtics player “emerged from the trainer’s room and pulled [Isaiah] away [to share the news].”
Understandably, all other interviews with Thomas were cancelled shortly thereafter, but an alleged associate claims that Sunday night’s first-round series match-up between the Chicago Bulls and the Celtics in Boston will go on as scheduled, with Isaiah being a part of the event.
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When asked to confirm if his son would play on in Chyna’s memory, a crestfallen James Thomas, father of both Isaiah and his sister, admitted that the decision was up to Isaiah alone.
“[He] hasn’t decided yet [if he’s flying home yet],” Mr. Thomas stated.
“It’s a crucial time for our family right now.”
Isaiah’s fellow Celtics expressed their condolences for Chyna late on Saturday through a heartfelt statement.
“We are terribly saddened by the tragic loss of Chyna Thomas,” it reads, “[and] the thoughts and prayers of the entire Celtics organization are with Isaiah and his family.”
Adam Silver, the commissioner of the NBA, followed suit and also reached out to the Thomas family over the loss of Chyna on Twitter.
“The NBA family mourns the tragic passing of Chyna Thomas,” Mr. Silver says, “and we send our deepest condolences to Isaiah, his family and the Celtics organization during this difficult time.”
A two-time All-Star, Isaiah Thomas has been praised in the past for maintaining ties close to the community where he grew up, such as when he flew cross-country in February 2016 to personally accept an honor at the Al Davies Boys and Girls’ Club in Tacoma, without first letting anyone know that he was planning to do so.
Isaiah Thomas’ family could not be reached for further comment regarding the loss of the sportsman’s sister.
[Featured Image by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images]