New details released in motorcycle crash death of Cedric Benson; female victim ID'd

Austin police: Benson was speeding in motorcycle before crash in west Austin

By RJ Marquez - Digital Content Curator

AUSTIN, Texas - The Austin Police Department released more details Monday in the motorcycle crash death of former Texas Longhorns running back Cedric Benson and a woman who was his passenger.

According to a press release, Benson, 36, was riding his BMW motorcycle at a high rate of speed in the left lane of FM 2222 in west Austin when he collided with a 2014 Dodge van at 10:20 p.m. Saturday.   

The driver of the van told police the van was stopped at the intersection of Mount Bonnell Road and FM 2222. The road has a lot of blind turns and hills. 

FIRST REPORT: Former NFL player Cedric Benson dies in motorcycle crash

The driver of the van checked for oncoming traffic and attempted to make a left turn when the van crashed with Benson’s motorcycle, police said.

A passenger of the van and another bystander attempted to help Benson and his female passenger, who was identified by police as 27-year-old Aamna Najam.

According to LinkedIn, Najam listed herself as a doctoral student at UT-Austin. Her profile said she was a doctor of audiology at the university. 

Police said Benson and Najam were pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver of the van was checked by paramedics and refused to be transported to the hospital.

KVUE spoke to residents who live along the intersection on Sunday.

They told the TV station that the intersection is very dangerous and has poor visibility. 

A photo of a BMW motorcycle was posted on Benson's verified Instagram page earlier in the evening.

According to the release, the driver of the van is cooperating with the ongoing investigation.

Benson was a four-year starter for the Longhorns after a legendary high school career at Midland Lee where he won three state championships.

Benson rushed for over 1,000 yards in each of his seasons in Austin and finished as the second-leading rusher in Texas history behind Ricky Williams. 

Benson won the Doak Walker Award and earned All-American honors in 2004.

He ended his career with the Longhorns as the 10th-leading rusher in college football history. 

Benson was then drafted by the Chicago Bears in the 2005 NFL Draft and played eight seasons in the league, rushing for more than 6,000 yards and 32 touchdowns.

On Sunday, tributes poured in from former teammates and coaches.

Mack Brown, Benson’s head coach at Texas, released the following statement.

“Sally and I are just grief stricken with Cedric’s passing. He was as good as you’ll ever see as a football player and as tough as they come. But what I’ll remember most is what a special, special person he was. We always enjoyed talking with him because he was such a bright and unique guy. There will never be another one like him, and he will be dearly missed by so many. It’s just heartbreaking, but we feel very fortunate to have had him in our lives.”

Former teammate and Longhorn great Derrick Johnson released the following statement.

“Being two of the biggest names in our recruiting class in 2001, Cedric and I roomed together our freshman year. We became really great friends. For that freshman class, he was head of the offense and I was head of the defense. That was our mindset always. We really had a special bond that started as soon as we roomed together and carried on long after college. His favorite thing to call me was cuddy. I loved it because it reminded me of my hometown. On the field, Cedric was a workhorse and one of the toughest players I’ve ever been around. He will always be remembered as a Texas legend and best of all a really good friend that I can tell my kids about. It’s a very sad day, but I’m so lucky to have had such a wonderful relationship and so many great memories.”

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