A man has been charged with manslaughter in the collision that killed former NFL players Dennis Byrd, per ESPN.
According to the report, charges were filed Wednesday against 18-year-old Zachary Reed, and an arrest warrant was issued.
Byrd, who had his career ended by a neck injury was killed in a two-vehicle crash in Oklahoma.
A 2000 Ford Explorer driven by Reed reportedly veered into oncoming traffic and collided head-on with Byrd’s 2004 Hummer V2, killing him on impact thanks to a variety of injuries, per Tulsa World. A 12-year-old in Byrd’s passenger seat was transported in critical condition, as was the then-17-year-old driver, via the report.
Byrd overcame a debilitating neck injury, in which he suffered partial paralysis after hitting a teammate in a 1992 game, shattering one of the vertebrae in his neck, per Fox Sports.
Former coach Pete Carroll shared the story of the collision to Newsday, and discussed the horrifying details:
“He didn’t even have the [neck] halo on yet, but we had to all tip him over so he wouldn’t choke on his own vomit,” Carroll said. “It was just horrible. Horrible. Just so catastrophic for a young man’s life.”
Carroll then said the team officials wanted to tell teammates Byrd would be a quadriplegic. 20 years after that hit, the Newsday piece noted Byrd was able to get around, though with some difficulty, on his own as he tended to a ranch with four kids and his wife.
“His injury was tough on him,” former teammate Jerry Ostroski told Tulsa World. “It was hard on him sometimes. He was in a lot of pain. He did a tremendous amount of work to be able to walk again, but he was in a lot of pain and it was hard on him. Over the years as he got a little older it was rougher on him. You didn’t see him quite as much.”Advertisement
Our thoughts go out to Byrd’s family and friends.