Condolences, support shared for Utah, Texas A&M players killed and injured in car accident

Published: Tuesday, July 30 2013 1:15 p.m. MDT

In this Feb. 1, 2012 file photo, Polo Manukainiu, left, Sione Latu, center, and Dez Richardson gesture after their signing ceremony at Trinity High School in Euless, Texas. Texas A&M officials say freshman NCAA college football defensive lineman Polo Manukainiu has died in a rollover crash in New Mexico during a trip home from Utah. New Mexico State Police say Gaius Vaenuku, an incoming member of the Utah football team, also died after the wreck. Manukainiu was a 19-year-old redshirt freshman.

David Woo, AP

Teammates, coaches and members of opposing teams shared their condolences and support via Twitter after the news Tuesday morning that Utah football player Gaius “Keio” Vaenuku was one of three killed in a rollover accident near Cuba, N.M.

Teammate Salesi Uhatafe was also in the vehicle and was sent to the hospital with minor injuries. Also killed in the accident were Texas A&M defensive tackle Polo Manukainiu, Uhatafe's stepbrother, and Lolo Uhatafe, Salesi Uhatafe's 13-year-old brother.

Uhatafe's father, Salesi Uhatafe Sr., was in the vehicle as well and survived the crash.

All three players had been teammates at Trinity High School in Euless, Texas. According to Deseret News reporter Dirk Facer, they were headed home for the weekend before Utah's fall camp starts Monday.

Within hours of the accident, friends, fans and other college football organizations turned to Twitter to react to the news. Among those responding were several of Vaenuku and Uhatafe's current and former teammates, Utah co-offensive coordinator Brian Johnson and opposing coaches Bronco Mendenhall (BYU) and Gary Patterson (Texas Christian University).

Here's what the Twittersphere had to say about the tragedy.

Email: bjudd@deseretnews.com; Twitter: @brandonljudd

Get The Deseret News Everywhere

Subscribe

Mobile

RSS