Sudden, tragic news struck early Sunday when reports came out that baseball star Yordano Ventura had been killed in a car accident.
Little is known about how the 25-year-old Royals pitcher lost control of his vehicle. But here is the info fans know so far:
Highway patrol spokesman Jacobo Mateo said Ventura died on a highway leading to the town of Juan Adrian, about 40 miles northwest of Santo Domingo. Mateo did not say whether Ventura was driving.
Police have now confirmed Ventura was the only one in the vehicle. You can see police photos of the accident scene here.
Yahoo released the following info about the crash Monday afternoon:
• Authorities in the Dominican Republic said Monday they hadn’t submitted the accident report yet, according to the Associated Press, but they think speed may have been the cause of the accident. However, Angela Martinez, the mother of Ventura’s daughter, said he was often cautious not to speed, because of the accident that killed his friend, fellow MLB player and countryman Oscar Tavares.
• Ventura was driving through a thick fog about three hours southwest of his hometown of Las Terrenas, according to Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star. This is what authorities believe happened: Ventura lost control of the car after his tires went off the road, and the vehicle rolled over. Ventura was not wearing a seatbelt and was thrown from the car.
• There was no alcohol present at the scene, according to The Star. A toxicology report will take three weeks, so we won’t find out until then if alcohol or another substance was a factor in the crash.
What’s also shocking about this crash is that fellow Dominican baseball star, Andy Marte, was killed in a car crash that same night, likely less than one hundred miles away from where Ventura passed away.
As if news can’t be more tragic, these two accidents mean that there have now been five Dominican baseball players who have perished in car accidents this year: Orioles minor leaguer Ramon Ramirez, Yankees minor leaguer Sandy Acevedo, and Astros minor leaguer Jose Rosario included. All of these deaths not counting Cardinals star Oscar Taveras, the Dominican who passed in a deadly car accident in 2014.
In fact, Ventura was friends with Taveras and honored him after his passing. The Royals “Ace,”who had a 102 miles per hour fastball and made his MLB debut in 2013, threw seven scoreless innings in Game 6 of the 2014 World Series while having ‘RIP OT #18’ marked on his hat, dedicating the game to Taveras.
It’s believed that teams are starting to urge caution to their Dominican players on safety when they return home during the off-season. According to the last global report on road safety from 2013, the Dominican Republic ranked No. 1 in motor vehicle deaths per capita.
Just a small slice of the reaction from Twitter Sunday:
— Kansas City Royals (@Royals) January 22, 2017
I love you Ace. I don’t know what to say other then I’m going to miss you a lot. RIP ACE.
— Mike Moustakas (@Mooose_8) January 22, 2017
Ventura is the second young MLB pitching star to die within the last four months. Marlins Cy Young candidate Jose Fernandez passed in a boating accident in September. He was only 24.
Ventura will be buried in the D.R. Tuesday.
Josh Helmuth is the editor of Crave Sports.