D.J. Hayden, the Raiders’ first round draft pick in 2013, cornerback from Houston, is pictured during a news conference that year. Hayden and two of his former teammates died in a car wreck on Saturday.
Former NFL player D.J. Hayden and two of his former college teammates died in a two-car crash that police said killed six people after a driver sped through a red light at a downtown Houston intersection early Saturday. Two others were injured.
The Houston Chronicle reported that Hayden, a first-round draft pick by the Raiders in 2013, and his former University of Houston teammates, Zachary McMillian and Ralph Oragwu, were among those killed in the crash. A fourth former UH football player, Jeffery Lewis, survived the accident, according to the newspaper.
The crash happened around 2 a.m., after a black Chrysler sedan that appeared to be going “very fast” through a red light on Fannin St. collided into a black Acura SUV that had a green light on Pierce St., Houston Police Asst. Chief Megan Howard said in a news briefing Saturday morning.
Including the former athletes, five males and one female died in the crash. Of those killed, four people died at the scene. Four others were taken to the hospital, where two of them later died. Another person, a female, is in critical condition with life-threatening injuries. The other survivor, a male, is being interviewed by investigators.
The driver of the Chrysler who ran the red light died at the scene, Howard said. One of the men who died was a pedestrian on the sidewalk, police said. Police have not yet released the identities of the deceased. Hayden was in the Acura SUV, the Chronicle reported.
In 2012, Hayden made headlines after suffering a near-fatal heart injury from colliding with a teammate during practice. Months later, he was picked up by the Oakland Raiders — now based in Las Vegas — as the 12th overall pick of the 2013 NFL draft.
“D.J.’s courage, perseverance, and dedication to his teammates will be fondly remembered by everyone who knew him,” the Las Vegas Raiders said in a statement. “The prayers of the entire Raider Nation are with D.J.’s loved ones at this time.”
Hayden was 33 years old. Hayden’s alma mater mourned his death alongside McMillian and Oragwu.
“The entire University of Houston community is heartbroken over the tragic passing of former Football student-athletes D.J. Hayden, Zachary McMillian and Ralph Oragwu earlier today, and our thoughts and prayers remain with Jeffery Lewis in his recovery ahead,” the school’s athletics department said in a statement. “While their combined talents provided Houston Football some of its most unforgettable moments, their unique legacies will best be remembered for the way they loved their teammates, supported their communities and defied the odds.”