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Former Crimson Tide football player dies in car crash

FILE - Alabama defensive back Khyree Jackson (6) during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Minnesota Vikings rookie cornerback Khyree Jackson was killed Saturday morning, July 6, 2024, in a car crash in Maryland, police and the team said. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt, File)
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FR171624 AP
FILE - Alabama defensive back Khyree Jackson (6) during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Minnesota Vikings rookie cornerback Khyree Jackson was killed Saturday morning, July 6, 2024, in a car crash in Maryland, police and the team said. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt, File)

Minnesota Vikings rookie cornerback, and former Crimson Tide player, Khyree Jackson and two of his former high school teammates were killed in an early morning car crash in Maryland, police and the team said. Jackson, 24, and Isaiah Hazel died at the scene, while Anthony Lytton, Jr., was pronounced dead at a hospital after the three-car crash in Prince George's County, according to Maryland State Police. Lytton was 24 and Hazel was 23.

The three were in the same vehicle just after 3 a.m. when it was struck by another vehicle that was speeding and changing lanes, police said. The Vikings released a statement saying the team spoke to Jackson's family, and is "devastated by the news."

"I am heartbroken by the loss of Khyree," Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah said. "As we got to know him throughout the pre-draft process, it was clear the goals Khyree wanted to accomplish both professionally and personally. His story was one of resilience. He was taking steps to become the best version of himself not just for him, but for those who cared about and looked up to him."

Jackson was a fourth-round draft pick by the Vikings in April. He played two years at Alabama before finishing his college career with one season at Oregon. The former Tide player was in the running to earn a starting cornerback job at the team's training camp, which opens later this month in Eagan, Minnesota.

"I am absolutely crushed by this news," Vikings coach Kevin O'Connell said. "Khyree brought a contagious energy to our facility and our team. His confidence and engaging personality immediately drew his teammates to him."

Hazel played college football at Maryland and Charlotte, and Lytton played at Florida State and Penn State. The three won a state championship together at Maryland's Dr. Henry A. Wise Jr. High School, which paid tribute to them in a social media post. Hazel was driving, and Jackson and Lytton were passengers in a Dodge Charger, which veered off the road after being hit and struck multiple tree stumps, police said.

Investigators believe the driver of a second vehicle traveling north attempted to change lanes "at a high rate of speed" when it collided with the car driven by Hazel and a third vehicle.

Nobody was injured in the second or third vehicles. Investigators say alcohol might have been a contributing factor in the crash and charges could be coming. Jackson was a first-team All-Pac-12 selection by The Associated Press last season after tying for second in the conference with three interceptions. His college career began in junior college in 2019.

"RIP Khyree… Love you," Oregon coach Dan Lanning posted on social media. "At a loss for words. I will miss your smile. Great player, better person."

Pat Duggins is news director for Alabama Public Radio.
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