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Crash kills 2 Tabor athletes

Staff writers

Two Tabor College football players were killed and a third was seriously injured in a fiery one-vehicle accident at 3:51 a.m. Sunday south of Hillsboro on Indigo Rd.

According to Kansas Highway Patrol, a 2001 Toyota 4Runner driven by Jonathan M. Medina, 19, went off Indigo Rd. at a correction jog south of Hillsboro and overturned against an embankment.

The car burst into flames.

Medina, a 5-foot-11, 170-pound freshman, is listed on Tabor’s football roster as a fullback from Arlington High School in Riverside, California.

The Highway Patrol lists his address as Lyons.

He was taken by Hillsboro ambulance to Wesley Medical Center in Wichita. His condition was not available.

Monitored transmissions from the scene rated him as having possibly life threatening injuries even though other transmissions seemed to indicate he might have been walking around.

Two passengers, Chris J. Castillo, 22, of Tustin, California, and Johnethon J. Aviles, 23, of Paso Robles, California, died at the scene.

Acting sheriff Larry Starkey said the car left the roadway and hit a driveway or field entrance before bursting into flames. It may have been traveling at a high rate of speed, he said.

According to Tabor’s football roster, Castillo was a 5-foot-10, 225-pound linebacker who transferred to Tabor from Orange Coast College.

The roster reports him as a junior in terms of athletic eligibility and lists his hometown as San Juan Capistrano, California.

Aviles, listed as a 5-foot-10, 230-pound running back with the Bluejays, transferred to Tabor from Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria, California.

The highway patrol report indicates none of the three were wearing seat belts.

Monitored radio transmissions indicate sheriff’s deputies at the scene attempted to get that information from paramedics treating Medina, whom Tabor identified as a passenger.

Peabody ambulance and Hillsboro firefighters and rescue squad members also were called to the accident.

They spoke briefly of needing an infrared camera to search for other victims.

That effort was called off after a second body was discovered in the burned out and crushed vehicle.

Deputies on the scene asked dispatchers to alert Starkey, but Starkey already had been monitoring the situation and quickly reached the scene to take command. He remained on the scene — and Indigo Rd. remained closed — until after 8 a.m.

“The Tabor College community is devastated by the tragic loss of Christopher Castillo, Johnethon Aviles, and of the significant injuries sustained by Jonathan Medina,” Tabor president David Janzen said in a statement Sunday night. “We extend our prayers to the Castillo, Aviles and Medina families, asking for comfort, peace and God’s presence during this unimaginable time.”

Last modified March 2, 2022

 

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