Crash kills 3 Wayland Baptist wrestlers

Local News

PLAINVIEW, Texas — Saturday afternoon, 19-year-old Elena Vasquez, 20-year-old Christian Orozco and 24-year-old Brian Anderson were believed to be heading back from Mackenzie Park when they ran a stop sign. 

Their SUV crashed into a rear axle of a northbound semi-trailer. The SUV flipped off the road around 10 miles east of Plainview.

Coach Kiiler Stephens, Wayland Baptist University’s Head Wrestling Coach, said they’re still in shock after hearing about the fatal car accident killing three members of the wrestling team.

“Such good kids and had such bright futures,” Stephens said. 

Stevens has coached for over 20 years and said he had lost one student before, but he said nothing compares to losing three at the same time. He knew all three students very well.

“Elena was probably one of the most intelligent people I’ve been around,” Stephens said. “I’d feel stupid after talking to her because she was just so mature and intelligent.” 

Elena Vasquez just completed her first year at the university. According to Stephens, she was an outstanding student who was determined and thrived to reach her potential.

Brian Anderson had just graduated with his bachelor’s degree and was coming back in the fall to work on his master’s. 

“Brian was just—he was your typical jock-looking guy, but he was really kind of a geeky guy,” Stephens said. “He would get into something—be it weightlifting thing—guitar—something, and he would become a master of it right away.”

Christian Orozco was a bright student with a kind nature. Stevens said he was always there to lend a helping hand. 

“Christian was just the kid that loved wrestling and loved his friends,” Stevens said. 

Wayland Baptist University’s vice president of Enrolment Services, Claud Lusk, said all three students were full of life and were loved dearly by their community. 

“The vocabulary doesn’t exist to describe the level of tragedy of loss,” Lusk said. “They had friends–that’s what wraps around my last memory of them.”  

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