Former University of Oklahoma football player, James "Jimbo" Elrod, killed in crash

Posted at 11:08 AM, Dec 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-13 07:22:01-05

CHANDLER, Okla. -- A former University of Oklahoma football player died Monday morning in a crash near Chandler.

James "Jimbo" Elrod, a former OU Sooner, died in the crash on the Turner Turnpike just before 4 in the morning Monday.

"Don't ever tell him he can't do something, because he'll get it done," former OU teammate John Roush said.

John Roush remembers the four years he spent on the field with Elrod. They took home the National Championship in 1974 & 1975. 

"Nobody forgets Jimbo Elrod," he said. "I mean he was a living legend and a lot of guys off of that team will never really be forgotten."

Elrod grew up in Tulsa. He went to East Central High School. He was number 54 and one of only two athletes to have his jersey retired at the school. 

It's been 42 years since Roush took the field in a jersey and helmet. He says it was a time he remembers and cherishes. 

"Everybody wants to play on a team like that and for it to happen it is a dream come true," Roush said.

Roush says the memories of Elrod will always stay with him. 

"When this happens, it's like a part of you goes with him," he said. 

A passenger in the car, 61-year-old Diana Elrod, was flown to the hospital in serious condition, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

According to OHP, James was ejected from the sun roof after hitting a guardrail on the turnpike. The crash happened near mile marker 162 west of Chandler.

A trooper with OHP did detect the odor of alcohol after the crash.

"This is a very sad day for the OU Football family. Jimbo was an All-American player and person, a great friend of our program who loved his Sooners. He was a true joy to be around and we will miss him dearly. We wish Diana the absolute best in her recovery and are praying for Jimbo's entire family on this extremely difficult day," said OU head coach Bob Stoops.

Following the crash, former OU head coach Barry Switzer released the following statement.

"Great wrestler and a great football player. Wrestling is what made Jimbo such a great football player. It gave him great upper-body strength and quickness. He could really run. He was a tenacious player and a competitor. He was really good and he was a member of a great group at Oklahoma. Jimbo has always been an 18-year-old guy to me because that's what he was when I signed him. He always had movie-star looks and a lot of hair. I was always jealous of his hair. Everybody was. I called a lot of Jimbo's former coaches and teammates this morning. We lost a great one. It's devastating."

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