OAKLAND (KRON) – Former Oakland Raiders linebacker Thomas Howard was one of two people killed in a high-speed crash on Interstate Highway 880 early Monday morning, sources are telling KRON 4 News.
The incident was reported on Highway 880 south of Fifth Avenue at 12:50 a.m., CHP Officer Daniel Hill said.
Witnesses said the driver of a gray BMW 750Li sedan, identified as Howard, was driving north on the highway at more than 100 miles per hour when he lost control and collided with the rear of a semi-truck in the left lane, according to the CHP.
The BMW launched into the air and crossed the center median onto southbound Highway 880. The BMW then struck a Chevrolet Monte Carlo and crashed into a gray Honda CR-V, Hill said.
Officers found the BMW overturned in the southbound right lane and the Honda CR-V blocking the two southbound left lanes, Hill said.
The semi-truck was found in the northbound right lane north of the crash site, according to the CHP.
The CHP and Oakland Fire Department personnel attempted to aid the drivers of the BMW and the Honda, but the extent of damage to the vehicles prevented responders from reaching the individuals, who both died at the scene, Hill said.
Alameda County Coroners office identified the driver of the Honda as Zeng Long Liu, 64, of Hayward. Family friends tell KRON that the wife of Liu is in the Shanghai and is planning to return to the Bay Area within the next week.
The driver of the Chevrolet sedan was transported to Kaiser Permanente Oakland Medical Center after complaining of pain, he said.
Howard was born and raised in Lubbock, Texas where he attended Lubbock Estacado High School. The 30-year-old linebacker went from a walk-on to a scholarship starter at the University of Texas El Paso. He finished his UTEP career with 296 tackles before being drafted by the Raiders in the second round of the 2006 NFL Draft.
“Everyone’s path to greatness is different. My journey to the NFL was one that I will never forget. If I can make an obstacle a building block for the next generation I will,” Thomas Howard wrote on his personal website.
Howard was drafted No. 38 overall by the Raiders and started 62 of the first 64 games of his career. In 2007, Howard recorded six interceptions and scored two defensive touchdowns. The six interceptions were the most by any linebacker that year. Howard’s two touchdowns were tied for second-most in the league.
In the 2011 off-season Howard signed a 2-year deal with the Cincinnati Bengals. Howard was signed last month with the Atlanta Falcons was active for only two games since October 22. He was released by the team on November 12.
Howard was living in Alameda at the time of the crash.
Howard had a combined 492 tackles, 6 sacks and 7 interceptions in his NFL career.
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