ABILENE, Texas - Three Abilene High football players were taken Monday to Hendrick Medical Center – including one in critical condition – after the Chevrolet Tahoe they were traveling in crashed into the back of a city refuse truck, police say.
The three students – two who are age 16 and one age 17 – were reportedly traveling near the intersection of North 1st Street and Woodlawn when the accident occurred about 7:52 a.m. Their vehicle was traveling at a high rate of speed, preliminary investigation results indicate.
Police say a city of Abilene refuse truck was heading west on North 1st Street and turning into a private drive when the Tahoe – driven by a 16-year-old male – slammed into the city vehicle's left-rear corner.
The Tahoe's driver and his 17-year-old rear passenger were transported to Hendrick Medical Center and were in good condition as of Monday afternoon, the news release said.
"The 16-year-old front passenger was the most severely injured and remains in critical condition," the news release said, noting all of the teens were wearing seatbelts.
AHS Football Coach Steve Warren visited the injured players at the hospital and said the camaraderie between the players is humbling.
"My understanding at the scene was that these three kids were a lot more worried about their teammates than they were about anything else, which is very impressive," Warren said. "People don't know a lot of times what a brotherhood means -- well that's what it means -- when you've got three kids lying on the pavement not knowing what's going on, they're worried about their teammate and that really makes me proud of these kids and proud of all of our kids."
Due to legal reasons, Warren said he could not name them, but he did say they are linemen on the varsity. He said counselors are at the school for any upset fellow students or teams and counselors visited the hospital to check on the player's families.
Police said neither drugs nor alcohol are suspected factors in the crash and charges in the case will depend upon the investigation's outcome.
Abilene ISD Superintendent of Schools Heath Burns showed up on the accident scene, along with Abilene Police Chief Stan Standridge.
See more on this story on KTXS News at 5, 6 and 10 tonight!