Notable athletes who died in vehicle and aviation accidents

Roberto Clemente
(Associated Press)

Kobe Bryant joins a list of athletes who died young in vehicle or aviation accidents. A look at some of them:

Nick Adenhart, 22: The Angels right-hander was killed April 9, 2009, when his car was struck by a drunk driver only hours after pitching for the team.

Davey Allison, 32: The NASCAR driver died July 13, 1993, when he attempted to land his helicopter and it crashed. Allison won 19 races, including the 1992 Daytona 500.

Jerome Brown, 27: The Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle died on June 25, 1992, when his car crashed into a utility pole. Brown was a first-team All-Pro twice.

Roberto Clemente, 38: The Pittsburgh Pirates right fielder died Dec. 31, 1972, in a plane crash on the way to Nicaragua with supplies after an earthquake. He was the National League most valuable player in 1966 and won two World Series titles with the Pirates.

Tim Crews, 31: Cleveland Indians pitcher, who had pitched for the Dodgers the previous season, was killed March 23, 1993, when the boat he was in collided with a dock in Clermont, Fla. Teammate Steve Olin was also killed in the accident.

Lakers legend Kobe Bryant died when the helicopter he was traveling in crashed into a hillside in Calabasas shortly before 10 a.m.

Rodney Culver, 26: The Chargers running back was killed in the crash of ValuJet Flight 592 into the Florida Everglades on May 11, 1996. He scored the tying touchdown in the San Diego Chargers-New York Giants “Snowball Game” at the Meadowlands in 1995. It was his last touchdown.


Jose Fernandez, 24: The Miami Marlins pitcher died Sept. 25, 2016, when the boat he was in struck a jetty in Miami Beach. Fernandez was a two-time All-Star and the NL rookie of the year in 2013.

Roy Halladay, 40: The retired pitcher was killed Nov. 7, 2017, when the aircraft he was piloting crashed into the Gulf of Mexico. Halladay won two Cy Young awards, pitched a perfect game and, in the postseason, pitched a no-hitter. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2019.

Alan Kulwicki, 38: The NASCAR driver died in an airplane crash April 1, 1993, when the plane he was in crashed while trying to land in Blountville, Tenn. Kulwicki was the 1992 NASCAR champion.

Cory Lidle, 34: The New York Yankees pitcher was killed Oct. 11, 2006, when his plane crashed into an apartment building in New York. He had pitched Oct. 7 in an American League Division Series.

Pelle Lindbergh, 26: The Philadelphia Flyers goalie died Nov. 11, 1985, after he lost control of his car and struck a wall. Five months earlier, he had led the Flyers to the Stanley Cup Final and won the Vezina Trophy as the league’s top goalie.

Kobe Bryant was our childhood hero, our adult icon. It seems impossible to believe he has died at age 41.

Rocky Marciano. 45: The former heavyweight boxing champion died Aug. 31, 1969, when the plane he was in hit a tree two miles short of landing in Iowa. Marciano retired in 1956 with a 49-0 record.

Camille Muffat, 25: The French swimmer died March 9, 2015, while participating in the French reality TV show “Dropped.” The helicopter she was in collided with another helicopter. Muffat won a gold, silver and bronze medal at the 2012 Olympics in London.

Thurman Munson, 32: The Yankees catcher died Aug. 2, 1979, when his plane crashed while he was practicing takeoffs and landings. He was the AL MVP in 1976 and was a key member of two Yankees World Series title teams.

Steve Olin, 27: Indians pitcher was killed March 23, 1993, when the boat he was in collided with a dock in Clermont, Fla. Teammate Tim Crews was also killed in the accident.

Drazen Petrovic, 28: The European basketball great who was a rising star in the NBA died June 7, 1993, when the car he was riding in crashed into a truck on Germany’s Autobahn. Petrovic had just led the New Jersey Nets to the playoffs, averaging a career-high 22.3 points.

Steve Prefontaine, 24: The runner died May 30, 1975, when the car he was driving jumped the curb and hit a wall. At one point, Prefontaine held the American record at every distance from 2,000 to 10,000 meters.

Payne Stewart, 42: The golfer was killed in a plane crash Oct. 25, 1999, when the aircraft failed to pressurize. Stewart was a three-time major champion, winning the PGA Championship in 1989, and the U.S. Open in 1991 and 1999.