This is the kind of news you don’t want to get, ever.
Texas A&M freshman DE Polo Manukainiu and Utah incoming freshman Gaius Vaenuku were tragically killed in a one-vehicle accident in New Mexico Monday evening.
Kevin Sumlin gave a statement regarding Manukainiu.
“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 head coach Kyle Whittingham delivered a statement regarding Vaenuku.
“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.”
Tragically, another 13-year-old passenger Lolo Uhatafe was also killed, and incoming Utah lineman Salesi Uhatafe was injured in the wreck. Salesi’s father was also in the vehicle, but he survived.
TAMU’s release details a portion of the crash:
According to the report from the New Mexico State Police, he 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. The driver and a fifth passenger were transported to San Juan Regional Hospital after sustaining minor injuries. Alcohol was not involved and it appears the driver was the only one wearing a seat belt.
Tragic news for a Tuesday.