Tragedy fell upon the NFL early this morning. Cincinnati Bengals Wide Receiver Chris Henry passed away this morning after sustaining injuries suffered after he fell from a moving pickup truck driven by his fiancee Loleini Tonga yesterday in Charlotte, N.C. Henry died at 6:36 a.m. at Carolinas Medical Center, where he had been taken early yesterday afternoon. Police haven’t released a cause of death.
Chris Henry was severely injured and was listed in a critical condition after falling out of the back of a moving pick-up truck following a heated argument with Tonga. She got in a pick-up truck and drove off, with Henry running after her and hopping into the bed of the truck. The two continued fighting until his accident when Henry “came out” of the back of the vehicle about a half-mile away from his fiancees’ parents house. When police and paramedics responded to the scene, police said Henry had suffered life-threatening injuries, including severe head trauma. He was then transported to a local hospital. No charges have been immediately filed, although authorities are at the scene conducting a criminal investigation to assess if he fell or was thrown off the truck.
Per Fox Sports:
“The domestic situation continued between the operator and Mr. Henry,” the police said in a statement. “At some point while she was driving, Mr. Henry came out of the back of the vehicle.”
According to a statement released by the Bengals, Henry and Tonga were to be married in March. Tonga’s MySpace page also made several references to the expected nuptials, including the purchase of her dress and wedding rings. Police haven’t released details on their dispute. However, homicide detectives were called to the scene of the accident to investigate. According to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police, such a move is typical procedure when the department responds to an accident involving life-threatening injuries.
Drafted in 2005, Henry is no stranger to problems off the field. He was arrested several times during his professional career, including arrests for DUI, marijuana possession, and assault, before being released by the Bengals in 2007 and then re-signed to a two-year contract with the team before the 2008 season. After the Bengals’ owner gave Henry a second chance, Henry seemed to have straightened his life out, staying out of trouble and focusing his off time on his family. He had been on injured reserve with the Bengals since Nov. 9 due to a dislocated forearm and had been spending his time away from the team with Tonga and their children.
“He was good at what he did as a player, he was a teammate to our players and a friend to almost all of us in the building,” Bengals president Mike Brown said at a news conference Thursday at the team’s headquarters. “We knew him in a way that [was not consistent] with his public persona. We liked him. He had worked through troubles in his life … to a point where he was going to have the future we all wanted for him and that he wanted for himself. At the time of his tragedy he was running to daylight.”
Henry leaves behind his fiancee and three children: 3-year old Seini, 2-year old Chris Jr., and 10-month old DeMarcus. He was 26 years old. An unfortunate end to a troubled life that seemed to be on the mend over the past year. Our sympathies are with the family of Chris Henry and his fiancee. Family, friends, and fans will miss him.
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