SAN DIEGO – A San Diego native and football player for the University of New Mexico Lobos was killed in a crash Tuesday afternoon.
Twenty-year-old Markel Byrd, a sophomore safety, died Tuesday near Gallup, New Mexico, while driving home with his girlfriend. Their car suffered a tire blowout on Interstate 40 and both were ejected, the school reported.
Byrd, who was driving, died at the scene. His girlfriend is in critical condition at a local hospital.
"This is an absolute tragedy,” head coach Bob Davie said in a statement. “Markel Byrd was an outstanding person and student-athlete and we will miss him. 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 was a prep standout at Horizon Christian Academy in San Diego, where he played quarterback and defensive back.
He redshirted in 2013 at New Mexico, but played safety the last two seasons.