Jul 30, 2013

A&M freshman killed in car crash

A&M freshman killed in car crash
Polo Manukainiu (left) posed with Sione Latu (center) and Dez Richardson after high school signing day. (David Woo / AP)
A&M freshman killed in car crash. Football players from Texas A&M and the University of Utah were killed in a single-car crash that occurred Monday night in northern New Mexico, according to both schools.

Polo Manukainiu, a redshirt freshman defensive lineman at A&M, and Gaius Vaenuku, an incoming freshman defensive tackle at Utah, died when the car in which they were riding rolled over near Cuba, N.M., as they traveled back to Texas from Utah. Shortly before setting out on the drive, Manukainiu had tweeted: “22 hour drive back to Texas on no sleep. Oh my.”

A&M said in a statement that 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.”

Offensive tackle Salesi Uhatage, also an incoming Utah freshman, and his father, Salesi Sr., both survived. Uhatafe is Manukainiu’s stepbrother and Andrew “Lolo” Uhatafe’s brother. Alcohol was not involved and it appears the driver was the only one wearing a seat belt.