Former University of Miami football star JoJo Nicolas was critically injured in a violent crash on the MacArthur Causeway Tuesday morning, Miami Beach Police said.
The crash happened around 5 a.m. in the westbound lanes of the causeway just before Fountain Street when the driver of a gray Lexus rear-ended a tractor trailer, police said.
Footage showed the car crushed underneath the tractor trailer.
Nicolas, 24, was rushed to Jackson Memorial Hospital in critical condition. The truck driver stayed at the scene.
"I didn't believe it until I saw the Instagram pictures and stuff like that. I went out to the hospital,” said Nicolas’ former teammate and roommate, DeMarcus Van Dyke.
He rushed to comfort his longtime friend’s family Tuesday.
"His mom, his cousins, everybody is down there in good spirits you know," Van Dyke said.
The crash caused the westbound lanes of the MacArthur Causeway to be closed for more than six hours.
Police said they are still investigating the cause of the crash.
Nicolas was a defensive back for the Hurricanes from 2007 to 2011 after attending Homestead Senior High School. He went undrafted and was signed by the New York Giants, but was later released.
Hurricanes Head Coach Al Golden was seen entering the hospital with family members Tuesday morning.
“During this extremely difficult time for JoJo and his family our Miami family extends our prayers to them and our hope for his recovery,” Golden said in a statement.
The outpouring of support from the Canes family was heartening to Van Dyke, who describes his friend as "A good guy on and off the field. Fun guy to be around. Always laughing, keeping everyone positive around him."
Just hours before the crash, Nicolas tweeted that he was at Mansion Nightclub on Miami Beach.