Rugby star killed by ‘boy, 16, fleeing cops at 100mph’ and son, 8, critical
FORMER South Africa rugby player, Pedrie Wannenburg, was killed after a driver involved in a high-speed police chase allegedly ploughed into his vehicle at 100mph.
The suspect, who claimed to be 16-years-old, is believed to have hit the 41-year-old’s vehicle as he attempted to evade authorities in Houston, Texas on Friday night.
Reports confirmed that Wannenburg’s wife Evette and kids Francois and Isabelle were onboard as emergency services scrambled to the scene at around 6pm.
Horrific images showed the remains of the mangled wreck as Wannenburg’s tragic death was confirmed yesterday.
He had been airlifted to hospital with his 8-year-old son to hospital, where the latter is said to remain in a critical condition.
Evette and Isabelle did not suffer serious injuries in the smash.
The teen, who was in a police chase when the crash occurred, has since been arrested for felony murder charges.
According to Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez, a unit attempted to stop three young men in a car at a nearby intersection before the driver fled and sped away at speeds of 100mph.
The resultant chase only ended when the motorist collided with two other vehicles – including Wannenburg’s.
Two other people in the second car that was hit were sent to a local hospital with injuries.
NBC Houston named the suspect as Ali Alabadi who, along with two other juveniles, were swiftly transferred to local hospitals with non-life threatening injuries.
Gonzalez announced that Alabadi was facing charges of felony murder, reckless aggravated assault with serious bodily injury and three counts of aggravated assault with bodily injury.
However, he confirmed that the juvenile will not be charged as an adult.
Wannenburg, who earned 20 caps for his country, played for his native Blue Bulls between 2001 and 2010.
The ex-Springboks flanker also represented Ulster between 2010 and 2012.
His former team-mate and ex-Irish international Stephen Ferris was among the first to pay his respects after his death was announced.
He tweeted: “Extremely sad news to wake up to this morning.
“Former team mate at Ulster, Pedrie Wannenburg, has tragically passed away in a car accident.
“Pedrie was a legend of the game and one of the nicest guys you could ever meet.
“Thoughts are with his wife Evette and his young kids. #RIP
Tributes also poured in from devastated fans.
“One wrote on social media: “Angry and sad to hear of the death of #PedrieWannenberg.
“Met him in passing, a few of my friends shared a number of beers with him and by all accounts, a great guy.
“He was a local legend in my home town of Pretoria. Praying that his son pulls through.”
Another commented: “Waking up to the shocking news of Pedrie Wannenberg… one of the great rugby players, a true servant to Ulster Rugby and a gent off the pitch.
“My thoughts are with the rest of the family #RIP.”