Rugby star Pedrie Wannenburg, 41, dies and son, 8, is critical after teen fleeing traffic stop slams into his car

The suspect has reportedly been identified as 16-year-old Ali Alabadi, who was traveling 100 miles per hour when the car wreck took place


                            Rugby star Pedrie Wannenburg, 41, dies and son, 8, is critical after teen fleeing traffic stop slams into his car
Pedrie Wannenburg died after the teen slammed into the car he was in (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images and Cy-Fair Fire Department/Facebook)
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HOUSTON, TEXAS: A South African rugby star was killed in a car crash in Texas by a teen trying to flee a traffic stop. 41-year-old Pedrie Wannenburg died after the teen slammed into the car he was in, along with his wife Evette, their daughter Isabelle, and their son Francois. The suspect, 16, was fleeing as cops tried to stop him outside of Houston.

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Wannenburg’s wife, and daughter, 10, were not injured. His son, 8, had to be airlifted to a hospital in critical condition. The driver struck three vehicles, and a fourth one also collided when it could not stop in time, said Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said. The local fire department confirmed that in total, six people were hospitalized as a result of the crash.

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"The suspect. 16 yrs of age, has been charged with felony murder, Reckless Aggravated Assault-Serious Bodily Injury, and 3X Aggravated Assault-Bodily Injury. His two passengers, also 16 yrs of age, sustained non-life threatening injuries," Ed Gonzalez said of the crash in a statement on Twitter. "The deceased male has been identified as Pedrie Wannenberg (41). His 8-yr-old male passenger has life-threatening injuries & remains in critical condition. A 10-yr-old female passenger has no reported injuries. The suspect struck 3 vehicles. A 4th vehicle was unable to stop in time & struck one of the initial vehicles struck, We appreciate the assistance from LifeFlight and @cyfairfd EMS. Our condolences go out to the victim’s family and pray for a full recovery for those injured."

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The suspect has reportedly been identified as Ali Alabadi, who was traveling 100 miles per hour when the car wreck took place. The sheriff’s deputy who chased Alabadi after a traffic stop is “still talking to the DA’s office” about the pursuit's circumstances, said Major Quincey Whitaker of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, as reported by the Houston Chronicle

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Pedrie Johannes Wannenburg made his provincial debut against the Golden Lions back in 2001. He then made his Super Rugby debut against the ACT Brumbies in 2002. The same year, he made his first test appearance for the Springboks against France. He had 20 caps for the Springboks.

Pedrie Wannenburg of Ulster looks on during the Heineken Cup match between Leicester Tigers and Ulster at Welford Road on November 19, 2011 in Leicester, United Kingdom (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

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In 2010, Wannenburg took up a new challenge with Ulster in Ireland competing in the Heineken Cup and Pro12. He famously played in Ulster's 2012 Heineken Cup Final defeat to Leinster. He signed a two-year contract with French side Castres after leaving Ulster at the end of the 2011–2012 season.

Wannenburg signed to the Denver Stampede in early 2016, and captained the team. Wannenburg also represented the South African Bulls in the southern hemisphere Super 14 competition. He is known for having played for Austin in 2018. 

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Pedrie Wannenburg and Ruan Pienaar of Ulster celebrate after winning the Heineken Cup semi final match between Ulster and Edinburgh at Aviva Stadium on April 28, 2012 in Dublin, Ireland (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

Following his death, Ulster Rugby wrote on Twitter, "Ulster Rugby is deeply saddened to learn of the sudden passing of former flanker, Pedrie Wannenburg following a car crash in Texas. The Springbok played a major role in Ulster’s Heineken Cup and Pro12 campaigns, making 54 appearances for the Ulster men between 2010 and 2012." Former rugby player Stephen Ferris wrote, "Extremely sad news to wake up to this morning. Former team mate at Ulster, Pedrie Wannenburg, has tragically passed away in a car accident. Pedrie was a legend of the game and one of the nicest guys you could ever meet. Thoughts are with his wife Evette and his young kids."

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""We are shocked and saddened by the loss of Pedrie Wannenburg. His playing accolades speak for themselves but it was his hard work and demeanor off the field that showed his exemplary character"," Major League Rugby quoted Commissioner George Killebrew as saying. Mark Alexander, President of SA Rugby, said in a statement, "Pedrie will be remembered as one of the first real versatile loose forwards who could play in any position in the back row and even though he played in only 20 Tests, his record in the colours of the Bulls, during a period where they dominated on all levels, is nearly unmatched."

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