Former Springbok forward Pedrie Wannenburg was killed in a multi-vehicle crash in Texas in the United States over the weekend as a high-speed police chase ended in tragic circumstances.
He was 41.
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As first reported by The South African website, a family member confirmed that Wannenburg died in the accident and that his family was with him in the car at the time of the crash.
His eight-year-old son, Francois, is fighting for his life in hospital.
Pedrie Wannenburg’s wife Evette and their daughter Isabel were reportedly unhurt.
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According to local news station KHOU-11, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said a deputy had attempted to pull over a 16-year-old suspect, only for the car to speed away and lead to a chase.
The suspect eventually crashed into Wannenburg’s car near an intersection.
Gonzalez further stated that Wannenburg – along with his son – was flown to hospital, but later succumbed to his injuries.
The teenage driver was reported to have been travelling at 160km/h at the time of the crash.
He has been named in local media as Ali Al-Abadi.
Al-Abadi has been charged with ‘felony murder’ among several other charges.
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Wannenburg had settled in the USA in 2016, when he became one of the first high-profile South Africans to play on the country’s professional circuit when he turned out for the Denver Stampede.
Prior to his move to the States, Wannenburg played over 100 Super Rugby matches for the Bulls and also enjoyed stints at Ulster in Ireland and French sides Castres and Oyonnax.
The Bulls took to social media to express their devastation at the news.
“We are devastated at the passing of Vodacom Bulls legend Pedrie Wannenburg.
“Our heartfelt condolences go out to the Wannenburg family,” the Pretoria franchise posted on Facebook.
Pedrie Wannenburg made his Test debut at 21
Wannenburg played 20 Tests for the Springboks, making 20 starts and scoring three tries.
He made his Test debut at age 21 against France in Marseille in November 2002 and played his final test against the All Blacks in Christchurch in July 2007.
After his retirement in 2018, Wannenburg coached the Austin Elite Rugby side in North American Major League Rugby.
The South African website extends it’s condolences to Wannenburg’s family and friends.
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