Southern University is mourning the loss of Human Jukebox band members killed in a crash after a tractor-trailer collided with their Jeep.
A spokesperson for the historically Black university confirmed 19-year-old Broderick Moore, of Cedar Hill, Texas; 19-year-old Tyran Williams, of Irving, Texas; and 21-year-old Dylan Young, of Dallas were in a fatal two-vehicle crash on Tuesday, Dec. 6. The students were members of the school’s prestigious marching band.
The collision was between a 1997 Freightliner and a 1999 Jeep Laredo in the Natchitoches Parish in Louisiana, State Police Master Trooper Casey Wallace told NBC 5.
The president-chancellor of the 140-year-old institution, Dennis Shields, offered his condolences to the victims’ families, friends, and the school community at large in a statement. Young was a sophomore majoring in mechanical engineering. Moore and Williams were both first-year students majoring in music.
“The SU Family extends our sincerest condolences to the loved ones of Broderick Moore, a freshman majoring in music; Dylan Young, a sophomore majoring in mechanical engineering; and Tyran Williams, a freshman majoring in music. #WeAreSouthern,” he captioned before writing a formal statement.
“I know that the sudden loss of a classmate or friend can be devastating. I encourage you to reach out to someone you trust to talk about your feelings. Know that the University Counseling Center is also here to assist you,” the letter said.
The HBCU’s director of bands, Kedric Taylor, said two of the students were tuba players and one was a percussionist.
In a statement, Taylor said, “I am at a loss for words and utterly devastated to hear the news that three of my band members lost their lives… the dedication and work ethic they displayed to the Human Jukebox was inspiring.”
According to the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office, the “major crash” occurred around 7:40 p.m. on I-49 northbound near Powhatan, a village in the parish, after the students’ vehicle stalled with a flat tire on the northbound shoulder of the interstate.
Police said the tractor-trailer drifted onto the shoulder and struck the left side of the Jeep as the three men were trying to change the flat tire. Authorities pronounced the young men dead at the scene.
The truck driver Clyde Gay was not injured, WDSU reported.
Authorities ran a toxicology test on the 62-year-old truck driver; however, those results are still pending and will not be released until the investigation into the crash is complete. It is unclear whether he was cited for failing to maintain his lane or facing charges.
Friends and family members of the students have started to release statements, reflections, and condolences about the students’ premature deaths.
Tarrant County Judge Kenneth Sanders was a mentor to Moore. He recalled a conversation the two recently had.
“I had just talked to him earlier this week, and he was excited to come home and tell me all about his first semester at Southern,” the family friend and SU alum said.
While talking about their relationship, the judge mentioned Moore spent the summer before his freshman year hanging out and preparing for the next phase of his life. He even took him to his first major league baseball game.
“Because he was going to my alma mater, I spent a lot of time with him this summer helping him get ready,” Sanders said.
The judge said Williams was excited to be part of the Human Beatbox.
“As we were out shopping, buying stuff for college, he was constantly practicing his high-step because Southern is known for having a high-stepping band, and he wanted to fit the part,” the mentor recalled.
“He was planning to become a band instructor,” Sanders continued. “I can only imagine the passion that he would’ve passed on to his students once he became a band instructor.”
Before becoming SU students, Young and Moore attended Cedar Hill High School and played with the school’s band, which remembered the two on social media.
“It is with heavy hearts that tonight 2 of our #RedArmyBand alumni lost their lives. Dylan Young, CHHS C/O2020 & Brody Moore, CHHS C/O2022. Both were members of the @SU_HumanJukebox. Tyron Williams 2nd yr percussionist of the Human Juke Box also succumbed to his injuries,” a post on Twitter read.
The Human Jukebox Alumni Association is turning its attention to the young men’s fellow bandmates at the school.
Travis Richard, the HJAA president, said the group is working to provide trauma services for members.
“I just want to say that we are all feeling this tragedy, this devastation, and we are supporting the band in every way we can,” he said. “We are providing resources through contributions to pay for mental health resources, and we do have licensed clinical professionals in the association as well.”
“So we’re just supporting the band, wrapping our arms around the band students, staff, and the entire university at this time,” he continued.
The original tweet by John Walton said the president of the university would be offering free counseling to all students impacted by the loss.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards released a statement on Wednesday about the crash, retweeting, “We join the Southern University family and especially the Human Jukebox Marching Band in mourning the deep loss of the three students whose lives were tragically cut short after yesterday’s accident.”
“They were dedicated to their education, incredibly talented, and provided joy to everyone who had the opportunity to hear them play as part of one of the greatest college bands in the nation,” Edwards said.