“Once I Heard That, It Was A Nightmare” | Tourney-Bound Volleyball Team Crashes On Icy Road, Leading To Death Of One Player

Image Credit: Venom Volleyball Club

Tragedy has struck the world of volleyball.

While traveling by road to a tournament in Texas, a teenage volleyball player from Arizona died and two others were critically hurt when the SUV they were in crashed during their trip to a tournament in Texasl.

According to their GoFundMe page, on Thursday, the team’s flights to the Lone Star National Qualifier in Austin were canceled due to snow and ice, according to Venom Volleyball Club coach and owner Jimmy Gonzalez.

Winter Tragedy

During the storm that hit the Lone Star State, schools and colleges in several states canceled classes, and drivers in Texas found themselves stuck in frigid temperatures overnight. According to reports, three families driving from Goodyear, Arizona, crashed near London, Texas.

The three families were traveling in “severe weather conditions,” Gonzalez said. They lost control of their vehicle on black ice and crashed into a large truck.

“Their vehicle swerved into the oncoming traffic, and they were met by a semi-truck,” he told KSAZ. “Six of the people inside that vehicle — two athletes, three parents and one sibling — were injured and rushed to the hospital.”

Lives Lost

Unfortunately, according to coach Gonzalez, one of the volleyball players “sadly passed away” during the head-on crash.

“Once I heard that, it was a nightmare,” Gonzalez said to KSAZ. “I thought I was asleep, and I needed to wake up.”

In addition, there were more victims as two other players on their way to the tournament were in critical but stable condition. Also, a former player merely traveling with the team was severely injured, according to Gonzalez, who has told reporters he has not been authorized to release the names of the victims.

Unfortunate Chain of Events

Medical attention was alerted when a parent driving to the tournament stopped after the crash and called 911.

Venom Volleyball Club (VVC) is a group of athletes, coaches, and parents that uses volleyball as a tool to build good citizens and, in the process, develop extremely skilled athletes and hopefully great future leaders, according to their GoFundMe page.

“We use volleyball as a tool to develop future leaders,” said Gonzalez. “That’s our main objective. Not volleyball.”

Reflection Eternal

In a tweet early Saturday, Lone Star National Qualifier Tournament officials sent their condolences to the victims of the crash.

“We are devastated about the tragic accident these Venom players and families were involved in en route to the Lone Star Classic,” organizers tweeted. “We hope you will join us in supporting their families as they navigate this difficult time.”

Gov. Greg Abbott called this week’s storm “one of the most significant icing events that we’ve had in the State of Texas in at least several decades.”

According to the National Weather Service, three to five inches of snow had fallen on some areas north and west of Fort Worth by Friday.

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Rhett Butler is a Boxing Writer Association of America Journalist, Play-By-Play Commentator, Combat Sports Insider, and Former Mixed Martial Arts and Boxing Promoter. The New York City native honed his skills at various news outlets including but not limited to: TIME Magazine, Money Magazine, CNN's Wolf Blitzer Reports, and more. Rhett hosts the PRITTY Left Hook podcast, a polarizing combat sports insider's take featuring the world's biggest names.