By Olin Ericksen
November 17 – Professional football player and
former Bruin Marcus Cassel, 23, died early Friday morning after
his speeding vehicle slammed into a tree in a Santa Monica park,
coming to rest just feet from a seaside cliff, police said.
The Carolina Panther cornerback was speeding down Santa Monica
Boulevard, when his vehicle continued past Ocean Avenue, broke
a fence and ended up in the seaside park, police said
“The vehicle (struck) a tree and then rolled over on itself
coming to rest against a cement light standard,” Capt. Alex
Padilla Padilla, the Police Department spokesman, told the Lookout
News. “Firefighters used their extrication tools to free
Mr. Cassel from the vehicle.”
Although paramedics stabilized Cassel and he was transported
to a local hospital, “he later died as a result of the injuries
he suffered in the traffic accident,” Padilla said.
No one else was in the vehicle, police said.
The cause of the accident is still under investigation.
A tow-truck hauled the Burgundy SUV perched on its side around
Some trash lay strewn next to the vehicle, which many have run
over the Will Rogers plaque, causing it to flip, according to
a vendor at the scene.
A talented defensive back in college, Cassel was placed in injured
reserve August 30, according to the NFL.
Hailing from Carson, the 6 foot 189 pound Cassel was a starting
corner back in 2004 for the Bruins, according to the UCLA Bruins
In 2004 alone, he made 33 tackles and his two fumble recoveries
tied for fourth in the PAC 10 (0.18) per game.
Cassel, who was not picked in the draft, was signed as a free
agent by the Panthers in May and given a $1,000 signing bonus,
according to the team’s Web site.
The Santa Monica Police Department is investigating the cause
of the traffic accident. Anyone with information is encouraged
to contact Detective Chris Dawson at (310) 458-8954.