Woman killed in motorcycle wreck with Cedric Benson identified

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — The woman killed in a motorcycle wreck along with Longhorns legend Cedric Benson Saturday was identified Monday.

Aamna Najam, 27, was riding on the back of Benson’s BMW motorcycle when the two were killed after a wreck with a white Dodge van.

Police say Benson was speeding westbound in the left lane of Farm-to-Market 2222 around 10:20 p.m.

“After checking for oncoming traffic, the van attempted to turn left on to FM 2222 when it was struck by the oncoming motorcycle,” police wrote in a press release Monday.

After the wreck, a passenger from the van and a bystander tried to help Benson and Najam but they were both pronounced dead at the scene. The van driver remained at the scene and cooperated with police.

Najam was a University of Texas graduate who earned her Ph.D in Audiology from the Moody College of Communication in Spring 2019.

“Aamna’s loss is devastating to our community and we express our deepest sympathies to her family and friends. Out of respect to her family, we are unable to share any other details. We are committed to helping students mourning her death through university counseling services and support programs,” a UT spokesperson said in a statement.

Najam was also a brand ambassador for a fitness clothing line called Just Strong.

“We are sad to hear that Aamna passed away. Aamna has been a valued ambassador for us for over a year. We (our community) express our deepest condolences. We are sending our love and support to her family and friends,” said Just Strong CEO Mark Robinson in a statement.

Investigations are ongoing and information may change.

Anyone with information about the wreck is asked to contact the APD Vehicular Homicide Unit at (512) 974-4424. This is Austin’s 50th fatal traffic crash in 2019, resulting in 52 fatalities. At this time in 2018, there were 41 fatal traffic crashes and 42 traffic fatalities.

Neighbors say intersection where Benson and Najam died is too dangerous

Mary Anne Best, who lives right next to the intersection where the crash happened, says she heard a loud noise when the motorcycle crashed into the minivan Saturday night. She says she’s witnessed countless crashes there over the years.

“My heart goes out to the family,” Best said. “I mean, it must be a horrible shock, an unbearable shock, and I don’t want it to happen to anyone else.”

Best says people drive too fast on that stretch of FM 2222.

“It’s almost impossible to maintain the speed limit because of the hills,” Best said.

When turning left out of Best’s neighborhood, as the minivan was in the crash, it’s hard to see what’s coming over the hill immediately to the left.

TxDOT data shows 34 crashes have been reported in both of the intersections where Mount Bonnell Road meets FM 2222 in the past five years.

A couple of years ago, the city put traffic lights in down the road at the other intersection where the two roads meet again, to make that intersection safer. But putting a light in at the location of Saturday’s crash may not be a feasible option.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the Austin Transportation Department told KXAN, “The City will coordinate closely with TxDOT, as the two agencies collaborate on the installation and maintenance of signalized intersections along this roadway. Given the existing traffic signal at the western intersection of Mt. Bonnell Road and RM 2222, installing a second traffic signal at the eastern intersection of Mt. Bonnell Road and RM 2222 would lead to two traffic signals that are more closely spaced than is recommended. That said, the City will examine all possible solutions to improve safety at this location.”

The Austin Transportation Department is investigating with APD.

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