Last week, former Alabama running back Altee Tenpenny was killed in a one-car accident in Mississippi on his way home to Arkansas. The accident came shortly after he was arrested on a firearm charge and parted ways with his third college football program in less than a year, leading some to speculate that the former highly-touted recruit meant to harm himself.
The Mississippi Highway Patrol, al.com reported, has ruled that the crash that killed the 20-year-old Tenpenny was accidental. An investigation determined that neither drugs nor alcohol were involved in the 6 p.m. ET crash, although it’s believed Tenpenny was traveling above the posted speed limit of 55 mph; the website notes that “accident investigators typically do not determine speed in one-vehicle accidents.”
The wreck began with Tenpenny colliding with a traffic sign and ended with his vehicle hitting a utility pole, ejecting him from the vehicle.
He was pronounced dead a short time later at a Greenville, Miss., hospital.
In a story posted earlier this week on al.com — I’d highly, highly recommend reading the entire piece HERE — Tenpenny’s family and friends were of the belief that he fell asleep at the wheel “[a]fter crying over the phone during his long car ride home.” Those same individuals believed Tenpenny “was a person determined to fix his life” at the time of the crash.
“On the day my son died, I sent him a text,” Derek Tenpenny said in a eulogy at the funeral. “I was angry about what I had read in the papers, but I always wanted to keep it open. I said, ‘Son, football and college, this ain’t working. I don’t know what it is that you’re running from, but you need to come home so we can fix it.’
“And Altee texted me back. My son texted me back. Instantly. Y’all don’t understand. When you spend years texting and calling, and you don’t get nothing — a minute after I sent my text, my son texted me back. And he said, ‘Yes, sir. When can we meet?'”
Said Tenpenny’s high school coach, Brad Bolding, “He wanted help. He knew he was out of control. He owned up to things. He always did.”