Texas A&M freshman and defensive liner Polo Manukainiu, Utah defensive end Gaius Vaenuku, and another teenager died after getting into a car accident in New Mexico early Tuesday morning.
Manukainiu was one of five passengers aboard a 2002 Toyota Sequoia that was traveling south on U.S. 550 near Cuba, N.M. when the SUV drifted off the roadway and rolled several times, said New Mexico State Police Sgt. Emmanuel Gutierrez.
The 19-year-old freshman and a thirteen year old boy were ejected from the vehicle during the incident and died. Vaenuku, 18, an incoming member of the Utah football team, was also pronounced dead at the scene.
The driver, Siaosi Uhatafe, 18, and his father, Salesi Uhatafe, were airlifted to San Juan Medical Center in Farmington, N.M. with minor injuries.
“We lost a terrific young man,” Texas A&M head football Coach Kevin Sumlin said in a statement released by the school. “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.”
The before the incident the beloved football player had tweeted about the upcoming road trip.
“22 hour drive back to Texas on no sleep. Oh my,” he wrote.
A&M's quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel posted his condolences on Twitter.
"Heart hurts waking up to news about Polo," Manziel tweeted. "I think I speak for everyone on our team when I say we love you brother you will be missed."