Houston

Wannenburg, Former Rugby Player, Dies at Age 41 When Car Hit in Texas

AP Photo/File

Pedrie Wannenburg, a former South Africa rugby player, died after his car was struck by a teenage driver who was fleeing from police outside Houston. He was 41.

South Africa Rugby announced Wannenburg's death on Saturday and said he "represented his country with aplomb" during his 20 test matches with the Springboks from 2002 to 2007.

Wannenburg was pronounced dead after being flown to an area hospital Friday evening, the Harris County sheriff's office said. His 8-year-old son was also hospitalized with life-threatening injuries, Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said early Saturday.

The 16-year-old driver of the car that struck Wannenburg's vehicle and two others has been charged with felony murder, reckless aggravated assault-serious bodily injury, and three counts of aggravated assault-bodily injury, Gonzalez said on Twitter. The teenager's name was not released.

The driver fled after police tried to conduct a traffic stop, Gonzalez said.

Wannenburg made his debut for the Springboks against France in Paris in 2002. He won several Super Rugby titles with the Pretoria-based Bulls in the 2000s.

"Pedrie will be remembered as one of the first real versatile loose forwards who could play in any position in the back row and even though he played in only 20 tests, his record in the colors of the Bulls, during a period where they dominated on all levels, is nearly unmatched," South Africa Rugby president Mark Alexander said in a statement.

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Wannenburg went on to play for clubs in Ireland, France and the United States before retiring to begin coaching.

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