The Texas A&M freshman killed in a single-car rollover crash on Monday night wrote in his last tweet on Monday, “22 hour drive back to Texas on no sleep. Oh my.” Texas A&M freshman Polo Manukainiu was among three people killed in the high desert of northern New Mexico when the 18-year-old driver of the car drifted off U.S. 550, overcorrected, and the car rolled over several times, reported ESPN on July 30, 2013.
According to the video report, the driver of the 2002 Toyota Sequoia was the only person wearing a seatbelt.
The SUV with Texas A&M freshman 19-year-old Polo Manukainiu, 18-year-old Utah player Gaius Vaenuku, 13-year-old Andrew Uhatafe, 18-year-old Siaosi Uhatafe (the driver), and his father, Salesi Sr., was on the way back to Texas from Utah when the accident occurred at 6:52 p.m. local time just north of Albuquerque.
The Texas A&M freshman was killed when he was ejected from the SUV. Besides 19-year-old defensive lineman Polo Manukainiu, 13-year-old Andrew Uhatafe was also ejected and both died at the scene. Incoming Utah defensive tackle Gaius Vaenuku, 18, died in the ambulance on the way to the hospital.
Texas A&M freshman Polo Manukainiu and Utah defensive tackle Gaius Vaenuku were high school teammates. The Texas A&M freshman and Utah player Gaius Vaenuku had played for Trinity High in Euless, Texas, and were going to be competing for spots on their teams’ respective defensive lines. Polo Manukainiu had helped lead Euless Trinity to an undefeated regular season in 2011.
The driver of the car, 18-year-old Siaosi Uhatafe, a Utah incoming freshman and offensive tackle, and his father, Salesi Sr. survived the crash with minor injuries and were released from the hospital on Tuesday according to a NBC5 tweet.
“NM Police confirm that Siaosi Uhatafe Jr (Utah player) was behind the wheel. He’s out of hospital and so his father.”
According to the ESPN report, Siaosi Uhatafe is Polo Manukainiu’s stepbrother and 13-year-old Andrew “Lolo” Uhatafe’s brother.
In response to the Texas A&M freshman killed, Texas A&M football coach Kevin Sumlin said in a press release. “Polo was loved by his teammates and coaches. Anyone who came in contact with him was struck by his sense of humor and smile. My heart aches for his mom and family members.”