Former Sooner Jimbo Elrod Dies In Turner Turnpike Wreck
CHANDLER, Oklahoma - Former University of Oklahoma football player Jimbo Elrod died early Monday in a wreck on the Turner Turnpike.
According to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, Elrod was driving a 2015 Lexus eastbound on I-44 at 3:43 a.m. on December 12, 2016 when the vehicle ran off the road to the right about four miles west of Chandler. The OHP says Elrod tried to get back onto the highway but hit a guardrail, causing the Lexus to roll end over end and ejecting him through the sun roof.
Troopers say Elrod's 61-year-old wife, Diana, was taken to an Oklahoma City hospital in serious condition.
The OHP said Elrod, 62, was not wearing a seat belt but his wife was.
The trooper who investigated the crash said he detected the odor of alcohol. The cause of the wreck is under investigation.
James Jimbo Elrod wore the number 54 jersey as a defensive end for the University of Oklahoma and was a member of the Sooner teams that won the national championship in 1974 and 1975. After college he played three seasons for the Kansas City Chiefs and one for the Houston Oilers in the NFL.
He was also a member of the Sooners' wrestling team.
At the time of his death, Elrod was living in Tulsa, where he had graduated from East Central High School in 1972.
Tony Casillas, a fellow Sooner and East Central alum, tweeted a statement Monday morning about Elrod's death. He said, "Jimbo was my hero growing up. Everyday I would pass by his trophy case that was displayed at East Central HS, and aspire to be just like him. My heart is crushed, my hero growing up is gone. Please keep his wife, who was with Jimbo during the accident in your prayers she is fighting for her life."
Former OU head football coach Barry Switzer also released a statement on Elrod's death.
"Great wrestler and a great football player. Wrestling is what made Jimbo such a great football player. It gave him great upper-body strength and quickness. He could really run. He was a tenacious player and a competitor. He was really good and he was a member of a great group at Oklahoma," Switzer wrote.
"Jimbo has always been an 18-year-old guy to me because that's what he was when I signed him. He always had movie-star looks and a lot of hair. I was always jealous of his hair. Everybody was. I called a lot of Jimbo's former coaches and teammates this morning. We lost a great one. It's devastating," Switzer said.