- Associated Press - Friday, December 2, 2011

JOPLIN, MO. (AP) - Two Missouri Southern football players were killed early Friday in an automobile accident that also injured two other students, the university said.

Michael McCrimmons and Diondre Johnson, both 19-year-old freshmen from Springfield, died early Friday, the school said in a statement.

The victims and two other students were in a vehicle that ran off Interstate 44 about two miles east of Sarcoxie early Friday, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol. The patrol said Johnson died after being thrown from the vehicle, and that a tractor-trailer truck then hit the students’ vehicle, killing McCrimmons.

The driver, 19-year-old Jeremy Johnson of Harrison, Ark., was hit by a car as he walked along the highway. His condition was not immediately available. Another student, 19-year-old Patrick Holt of Benton, Ark., a member of Missouri Southern’s golf team, was in serious condition at a Springfield hospital, the university said.

The university said school officials met with football players Friday. Also, a candlelight vigil was held Friday night. McCrimmons was a defensive back, and Johnson was a tight end for the Lions.

“At this time, everything possible is being done to support our students, their families and friends,” school President Bruce W. Speck said. “Our prayers go out to their families and friends.”

Missouri Southern, a Division II school that plays in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association, finished its season Nov. 12 with a record of 3-7. Johnson played in nine games and finished with a single catch — for a touchdown.

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