SAN DIEGO -- Funeral plans were pending Wednesday for a former San Diego high school football standout who played safety for the University of New Mexico Lobos and who was killed in a single-vehicle crash while driving home for the holidays.
Markel Byrd, 20, died in crash on Interstate 40 in Gallup, New Mexico, Tuesday after his car experienced a blowout. His girlfriend, whose name was not immediately available, was critically injured, according to the University of New Mexico.
“This is an absolute tragedy. Markel Byrd was an outstanding person and student-athlete and we will miss him,'' Lobos Head Coach Bob Davie said. “I was with the family late Tuesday night and obviously they are devastated. Our thoughts and prayers go to them. Markel will forever be a member of our family.''
Byrd, a UNM sophomore, played safety for the school for the past two years. The former prep standout at Horizon Christian Academy was tied this year for team leader in interceptions and was eighth in tackles, according to the university.
"There’s no words that can express this, no one thing anybody can say to relieve the pain, this really is a time when you have to trust in the lord, yes he’s in a better place but it doesn’t really help the pain,” said Darren Carrington, Byrd's former coach and family friend.
Carrington said a memorial is being planned for Byrd in San Diego to be held possibly at Horizon Christian Academy or the Rock Church in Point Loma.
Byrd's family has set up a GoFundMe page hoping to raise enough money to cover memorial and funeral expenses.
GoFundMe page: https://www.gofundme.com/czg48bvw