A Texas A&M freshmen was killed in a car crash on Monday night.
Lineman Polo Manukainiu, a redshirt freshman defensive lineman at Texas A&M, died when the vehicle he was driving in rolled over near Cuba, New Mexico.
Also killed in the accident was Gaius Vaenuku, an incoming freshman defensive tackle at Utah.
The two men were driving back to Texas after a short stay in Utah.
In a statement released after the Texas A&M freshman was killed, officials at A&M revealed Manukainiu “was a passenger in a 2002 Toyota Sequoia traveling south on U.S. 550 and the vehicle drifted off of the roadway and the driver over corrected and the vehicle rolled several times. Manukainiu and another passenger, Andrew Uhatafe, were ejected from the vehicle and deceased at the scene. Gaius Vaenuku, an incoming member of the Utah football team, was transported from the scene of the accident but was pronounced deceased in the ambulance.”
Utah freshmen Salesi Uhatage, another Utah freshman, and his father Saesi Sr. were also in the crashed vehicle. Uhatage is Manukainiu’s stepbrother and Andrew “Lolo” Uhatafe’s brother.
Before the trip, Manukainiu had tweeted: “22 hour drive back to Texas on no sleep. Oh my.”
Speaking to KVUE, Texas A&M head football coach Kevin Sumlin said: “We lost a terrific young man. 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.”
Utah coach Kyle Whittingham also chimed in on the tragedy, telling the Salt Lake Tribune:
“Everyone who knew Gaius is heartbroken today. 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.”
Both of the tragically killed football players were graduates of Trinity High School in Euless, Texas.
Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel tweeted the following message following his teammates death:
Johnny Manziel, Manukainiu’s teammate at A&M, tweeted the following message on Tuesday morning:
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
— Johnny Manziel (@JManziel2) July 30, 2013