HOUSTON (KXAN) — Pedrie Wannenburg, a former forwards coach and player for the Austin Gilgronis rugby team, died in a fatal crash in Houston Friday.
Wannenburg, a former South Africa international, was driving when his car was hit by a teenager allegedly fleeing from Harris County Sheriff’s deputies after a traffic stop, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said in a tweet.
The suspect, identified as 16-year-old Ali Alabadi, was charged with felony murder, reckless aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury and three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, according to KPRC.
Both Wannenburg and his eight-year-old son were transported to Memorial Hermann Hospital, where his son remains in critical condition.
Austin Gilgronis — formerly named Austin Elite Rugby — teammates paid tribute to Wannenburg in a tribute Saturday, dubbing him “an incredible player” whose influence on the team will carry on.
“A dream come true to play with a Springbok legend, Pedrie. His dedication towards the game and his family is something I’ll always remember. I pray that little Francois is healed and is reunited with Evette and Isabelle,” player Zinzan Elan-Puttick said.
Wannenburg also helped coach rugby at Rice University in Houston. The Rice Rugby Club launched a GoFundMe in benefit of Wannenburg’s family Saturday, since raising nearly $11,000.
“His impact as a player, coach, and supporter of the sport is felt across multiple countries and continents, and he will be greatly missed by all alike,” the GoFundMe read in part. “We’ll miss his halftime speeches, grueling fitness drills, and commanding spirit and will be forever thankful for his contributions to our program.”