High, Ex-Phoenix Suns Player, Killed When Car Strikes Pole

United Press International

Former Phoenix Suns player Johnny High was killed early Saturday when his car struck a traffic-light pole at an intersection.

High, 30, was pronounced dead at Maricopa Medical Center at 3:30 a.m., 80 minutes after the accident, police spokesman Brad Thiss said. Thiss said alcohol was found in High’s 1979 sports car, but tests to determine whether High had been drinking were not complete.

High testified earlier this year before a Maricopa County grand jury that indicted five current and former Sun players and six others on cocaine and other drug charges.

No charges were filed against High.


Thiss said High was alone in the right-turn lane when his car crossed an intersection and struck a light pole.

“He appeared to have suffered severe chest injuries,” Thiss said. “Nobody witnessed the accident. A neighbor heard the crash and discovered it.”

Sun General Manager Jerry Colangelo, who drafted High in the second round of the 1979 National Basketball Assn. draft, called the former Nevada Reno star “a man who appeared to reach the pinnacle for a short period of time,” but said he had been plagued by personal problems later.

High, a 6-foot, 3-inch guard, was known for his defense and aggressive play. He played for the Suns from 1979-81, in 1982-83 and briefly in 1984.