6 dead in Houston crash after driver allegedly runs red light

Six people are dead and a seventh had life-threatening injuries after a speeding driver allegedly ran a red light and caused a crash with an SUV in Houston early Saturday, police said.

Three former football players at the University of Houston were killed, including D.J. Hayden, a cornerback who went on to play for the then-Oakland Raiders. A fourth former UH football player was injured.

“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,” University of Houston Athletics said in a statement.

It added that the men who died were “three individuals who made an indelible impact on each life they touched.”

The Raiders said the team was “mourning the tragic loss of former cornerback D.J. Hayden,” who “overcame a heart injury sustained in a college practice to play nine years in the NFL, including his first four with the Silver and Black.” Hayden was the team’s first-round draft pick in 2013.

The crash between a Chrysler 300 and an Acura SUV happened around 2 a.m., Assistant Houston Police Chief Megan Howard said at the scene.

The Chrysler, going southbound on Fannin Street, allegedly ran a red light as the SUV had the green light going eastbound on Pierce Street.

The Chrysler “appears to be going very fast, high velocity,” Howard said.

Four people were dead at the scene and two others died after being taken to a hospital, Howard said. Five males and a female were killed in all, she said.

Two people were injured, one of whom has life-threatening injuries, Howard said.

The driver of the Chrysler who ran the red light is dead, she said. One of the males who was killed appears to be homeless. It was not clear from a news conference how he was involved.

Video from NBC affiliate KPRC of Houston showed the SUV with severe damage to its side.

Speeding is responsible for almost one-third of all traffic deaths, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in July when it launched a campaign to slow drivers down.

There were 42,939 deaths in crashes in 2021 — the year when speed-related deaths reached a 14-year high — and of them, 12,330 involved speeding, it said.

Phil Helsel

Phil Helsel is a reporter for NBC News.

Rebecca Cohen

Rebecca Cohen is a breaking news reporter for NBC News.

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