The Commerce Journal

Local News

June 4, 2014

Community to mourn loss of Butts, Oliver at candlelight vigil tonight

COMMERCE — Two members of the Texas A&M University-Commerce women’s basketball team were killed in a traffic accident Tuesday evening on Loop 286 in Paris, and two other student-athletes were taken to the hospital with in critical condition before being released.

Aubree Butts of Lewisville and Devin Oliver of Rowlett were heading to a summer league basketball game with La’Tisha Hearne of Richardson and Zenobia Winbush of Schertz, Texas, when their car was struck from behind by an 18-wheeler. Butts and Oliver were killed by the impact, while Hearne and Winbush were transported to a local hospital, treated, and released.

“This is an unspeakable tragedy and a loss that is felt by the entire university community, made more grievous by the dreams that will not be fulfilled,” A&M-Commerce President Dan. R. Jones said. “Our prayers go out to the loved ones of those we have lost.”

A&M-Commerce students will lead the community in a candlelight vigil at 9 p.m. this evening in Rachel’s Garden on the A&M-Commerce campus, located directly across from the Field House.

According to a university press release, the Counseling Center is available to walk-in students, as well as faculty and staff, who would like to speak with a counselor. The Rayburn Student Center is also open for groups of students, organizations and others who may wish to meet and hold vigil.

“We continue to mourn the loss of two wonderful individuals,” A&M-Commerce Athletic Director Ryan Ivey said. “Accidents like this are never easy for anyone involved, and we continue to pray and console everyone who has been touched by these wonderful people.  The outpouring of love and support from colleagues and athletic departments from around the country is nothing short of amazing.  We continue to ask for everyone’s thoughts and prayers during this time of need.”

According to a report from Paris Police Chief Bob Hundley, a 2007 Nissan Maxima with the four A&M-Commerce student-athletes was driving southbound on FM 1497 around 6:30 p.m. The car started into the intersection of the eastbound lanes of Loop 286 and was struck from behind by a 2012 Freightliner truck tractor semi-trailer, driven by Brian Lile of Chickasha, Okla.

A second year player, Butts played in 27 games at guard for the Lions during the 2013-14 season, averaging 6 points and 2.9 rebounds per game. A junior, Oliver averaged 25.6 minutes per game in 27 matches for the Lions, adding 10.3 points and 3.7 rebounds per game. Both were stars at their respective high schools and active on campus.

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