INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — An Indianapolis Colts linebacker and the Avon man acting as his Uber driver died after a suspected drunk driver hit them on Interstate 70 early Sunday morning.
26-year-old Edwin Jackson — who first joined the Colts in May of 2015 — and 54-year-old Jeffrey Monroe of Avon had pulled to the side of I-70 near Holt Road because Jackson had become ill, Indiana State Police said in a release.
Police say 37-year-old Alex Cabrera Gonsales hit Jackson and Monroe just before 4 a.m. in a black Ford F-150.
One victim was thrown from crash onto the center lane of I-70. That victim was later struck by an ISP trooper who was responding to the crash.
Gonsales was taken into custody after attempting to flee the scene on foot. He was later transported to Marion County Jail. Online jail records indicate he is being detained for the U.S. Immigration Service.
According to ISP, he is in the U.S. illegally and is a citizen of Guatemala. His real name is Manuel Orrego-Savala and he has been deported twice. He was deported in 2007 and again in 2009. He was also driving without a license.
“It appears that somebody got behind the wheel of a vehicle after having consumed alcohol and now we have tragic consequences that are going to affect many, many lives because of somebody’s poor decision,” said Sgt. John Perrine with Indiana State Police.
Gonsales faces preliminary charges that include causing death when operating a motor vehicle with an alcohol concentration equivalent of .08 or more, operating a motor vehicle without ever receiving a license and operating a vehicle with an ACE of .15 or more, according to online records.
The crash closed all lanes for several hours for crew clean up and investigation.
The crash is the second double fatality crash of the morning, with the first happening on the city’s east side.
The Indianapolis Colts released the following statement on Sunday afternoon regarding Jackson’s death:
“We were heartbroken to hear the news of Edwin Jackson’s passing. Edwin was loved by all in the Colts organization. We admired his outgoing personality, competitive spirit and hard-working mentality. He was well-respected among all with whom he crossed paths, and he will be greatly missed in our locker room and throughout our entire organization. We also understand that another person lost his life in the accident, only adding to our sorrow on this day. We are shocked and saddened by this tragedy, and our thoughts and prayers are with the families of both men during this difficult time.”
Former and current Colts players, as well as Jackson’s college football program, reacted to Jackson’s death through social media on Sunday afternoon:
A spokesperson for Uber confirmed that Monroe was giving Jackson a ride early Sunday morning and said Uber was ready to help police with their investigation. The company offered the following statement regarding the fatal incident:
Like so many who are mourning, we are heartbroken by this news. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families, the Colts, and the entire Indianapolis community.”
Sgt. John Perrine with ISP tweeted about Monroe’s death with a reminder to drive sober:
Nonprofit organization Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) released a statement after the crash, noting that the crash happened hours before Super Bowl 52 was set to begin:
MADD is shocked and heartbroken that Indianapolis Colts player Edwin Jackson, along with Jeffrey Monroe, who police believe was a ride-share driver, were killed by an alleged drunk driver early this morning. The loss of a professional football player and his driver on the biggest game day of the year is beyond tragic for the families and friends of both men, and our hearts are with them and the Colts team. Drunk driving remains the leading killer on our nation’s highways and streets, yet there is no excuse for anyone to drive drunk when there are so many options for a sober, non-drinking designated driver, such as Uber, taxis, public transportation or a non-drinking friend. With so many festivities centered around the Super Bowl tonight, MADD urges everyone to please have a plan to get home safely.”