Langston Walker: 'Thomas Howard was heart and soul of Raiders defense'
Thomas Howard played for the Raiders from 2006-2010. (USATSI)
Statement from the family of Thomas Howard
"We are grateful for the outpouring of prayers, love and support we have received today. During this difficult time, we ask that you respect the privacy of our family, as well as the privacy of the family of Zeng Long Liu. Please continue to pray for both families."
Former Raiders linebacker Thomas Howard was one of two people killed early Monday in a four-vehicle accident on Highway 880 in Oakland, CSNBayArea.com has learned.
Multiple reports say Howard, 30, a second-round pick of the Raiders in the 2006 NFL Draft, was the driver of a speeding BMW 750li that rear-ended a big rig before leaving the highway out of control, launching over a center divider between Fifth and 10th Avenues before slamming into a 2012 Honda CRV at about 12:50 a.m.
The driver of the CRV, a 65-year-old Hayward man, also was killed in the multi-car accident, which closed all lanes of I-880 southbound from Oak Street to 16th Ave. for two hours, 35 mnutes. All lanes reopened at about 5:30 a.m.
“The BMW was traveling northbound at a high rate of speed,” CHP Sgt. Robert Cullinan told KTVU on Monday. “It rear-ended a big rig, rolled over several times, bouncing over the center divider and collided head-on with the CRV in the other lane.”
The Raiders said Monday they were aware of the accident and were in the process of gathering more information.
Former Raiders CEO Amy Trask heard about the accident Monday afternoon.
"I am very, very saddened by the news of Thomas Howard's death," said Trask, who was with the team during Howard's playing career in Oakland. "I knew Thomas Howard to be a thoughtful, intelligent, intellectually curious young man who had wonderful hopes and dreams not only for his time in the National Football League, but thereafter. I am so very sad that he will not have an opportunity to pursue all of his dreams and that we will not see those dreams come to fruition."
The CHP accident report says Howard’s 2009 BMW was traveling at an extremely high rate of speed – Cullinan said the initial investigation revealed the vehicle was traveling over 100 mph – causing Howard to lose control. The BMW then collided into the rear of a 2013 Peterbilt semi-truck in the No. 3 lane, driven by Juan Rayo, 68, of Ceres.
As a result of this collision, Howard’s BMW overturned and crossed the center median wall onto southbound I-880, subsequently colliding with the CRV and a 2002 Chevrolet Monte Carlo driven by Warren Daggs, 42, of Hayward.
The extent of the collision damage caused the BMW and Honda to disintegrate, and made it difficult for emergency medical personnel with the CHP and Oakland Fire Department to reach Howard and the driver of the CRV. Both drivers “succumbed to their injuries at the scene,” the CHP report says.
The driver of the Chevrolet complained of pain and was transported to a local hospital. The big rig driver was not injured.
The crash remains under investigation. There is no indication whether alcohol played a role in the deadly accident.
Howard, 6-foot-3, 240 pounds, was the 38th overall pick in the 2006 NFL Draft out of University of Texas-El Paso, a player prized by the late Al Davis for his speed as an edge pass rusher. He played five seasons in Oakland at outside linebacker but was waived by the team in 2010. His best season was in 2007, when Howard had six interceptions — two of which were returned for touchdowns — as well as 77 tackles.
In five seasons with the Raiders, Howard posted four sacks, seven interceptions and 320 tackles, along with six forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries. He also was credited with 25 passes defensed.
He started 15 games for the Cincinnati Bengals in 2011 and appeared in only one game in 2012 before tearing his ACL in practice last September.
An unsigned free agent this past offseason, Howard signed with the Atlanta Falcons last month, appeared in two games and was waived Nov. 12.
The CHP report described Howard as a resident of Alameda.