Former Jets Player Dennis Byrd Dies After Highway 88 Crash
ROGERS COUNTY, Oklahoma - Dennis Byrd, 50, died after a crash on Highway 88 north of Claremore Saturday morning.
The two-vehicle crash happened around 11 a.m. near the intersection with Lowry Road, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.
Troopers said a 17-year-old was heading north in a 2000 Ford Explorer on Highway 88 near Lowry Road when his SUV crossed the center line.
The Ford hit Byrd's southbound 2004 Hummer H2 head on, according to the OHP.
Paramedics pronounced Byrd dead at the scene. A 12-year-old boy who was a passenger in the Hummer survived. Troopers said he had head, trunk arm and leg injuries but was stable when paramedics transported him to a Tulsa hospital.
Pieces of vehicles littered the side of the roadway where the wreck happened and some grass appeared to have been burnt when one of the SUVs caught fire, according to News On 6 reporter Marty Kasper.
The OHP did not identify the teenaged driver of the Ford Explorer due to his age. Troopers said he was stable when paramedics took him to the hospital with head, arm, leg and trunk injuries.
His condition at the time of the wreck is under investigation, as is the cause of the crash. Troopers said everyone involved was wearing a seat belt.
Byrd was a former New York Jets player and Tulsa resident.
He was paralyzed after a collision during a game against the Kansas City Chiefs in 1992 after he crashed into a teammate. The defensive end was then rushed to the hospital where he learned he suffered a broken neck that paralyzed him from the waist down.
He made an amazing recovery.
Byrd attended college at the University of Tulsa before playing four seasons for the Jets beginning in 1989. In his first two seasons, he recorded 28 sacks and 110 tackles.
Also, Lincoln Christian's football stadium is named in his honor.
University of Tulsa Athletic Director Derrick Gragg released the following statement:
“We extend our sincere condolences to Dennis’ wife Angela, their children and the entire Byrd family. Dennis exemplified true determination, tremendous heart and humility throughout his life. He had a tremendous playing career at TU and professionally with the New York Jets. He overcame great personal adversity after a life-altering injury on the football field. We know that Dennis touched numerous lives and will be missed by many.”