Joplin, Mo. -- The Missouri Southern State University community is saddened to report that four MSSU student-athletes were involved in a tragic accident on I-44 between Joplin and Springfield early Friday morning. Two were killed and two others seriously injured.
Three of the student-athletes are members of the football team, while a fourth student-athlete is a member of the golf team. The two students killed in the accident were Michael McCrimmons, a freshman defensive back from Springfield, and Diondre Johnson, a redshirt freshman tight end from Springfield.
According to the Missouri Highway Patrol, the accident occurred near mile marker 31 about 2:30 a.m., Friday, Dec. 2.
The two other student-athletes involved in the accident were Jeremy Johnson a freshman football player from Harrison, Ark., and Patrick Holt, a freshman golfer from Rogers, Ark. Both were injured in the accident, which shut down the eastbound lanes of I-44. Holt was flown to St. John's Hospital in Springfield, while Johnson was taken to St. Francis Hospital in Tulsa, Okla.
The Highway Patrol reported that the SUV in which the four student-athletes were riding apparently overturned ejecting one of the passengers. The overturned vehicle came to rest in the eastbound lanes of I-44 and was then hit by a semi truck.
One of the passengers of the SUV was injured after being hit by a car after exiting the overturned SUV.
A team meeting with football players was held at noon today in Phelps Theatre in Billingsly Student Center. Athletics Director Jared Bruggeman and Coach Bart Tatum in addition to other Athletic Department officials and counselors met with the student-athletes.
The University will hold a candlelight vigil in remembrance of the two students at 6:30 p.m. tonight (Friday, Dec. 2) at the Flag of Freedom Plaza on the campus oval.
The University is planning a remembrance service next week.
"At this time, everything possible is being done to support our students, their families and friends," stated Dr. Bruce W. Speck, MSSU president. "Our prayers go out to their families and friends."