Austin Police Department identified the second victim in a deadly motorcycle crash that sent shockwaves through Austin, the University of Texas, and the NFL over the weekend.
On August 17, former Longhorn football star and NFL running back Cedric Benson was driving with a female passenger on a BMW motorcycle when they reportedly struck a van at the intersection of Mount Bonnell Road and FM 2222 in West Austin.
On August 19, APD identified the female passenger as 27-year-old Aamna Najam. Social media accounts reveal that Najam was a doctoral student at UT, though that remains unconfirmed at this time.
Police say that Benson was "traveling at a high rate of speed westbound in the left lane of FM 2222" when the motorcycle hit a van turning into oncoming traffic. The accident resulted in a fiery crash, and according to APD, both a passenger in the van and bystanders attempted to aid the victims.
Both Benson and Najam were later pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the van refused treatment and is cooperating with investigators.
Word of Benson's death spread fast on Sunday, and as news outlets began reporting on the crash, everyone from former UT coach Mack Brown to his colleagues in the NFL took to social media to mourn his passing.
"Saddened by the reports on the passing of Cedric Benson," Brown wrote on Twitter. "We’ve coached a lot of tough players, but none were tougher than Cedric. He was a true spirit. Our thoughts and prayers are with his friends and family on this sad day."
"Ced and I became fast friends during his short stay in Green Bay and would spend many lunch hours in the cafeteria talking about life and football," said Green Bay Packers' legendary quarterback Aaron Rodgers on Instagram. "Ced was very smart and thoughtful, and I always walked away from our conversations feeling like I learned something or wanted to go research something so that I could keep up with him in our conversations."
In tribute to Benson, the Longhorn Network is airing his most notable games with UT all day on August 19.