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Former Louisiana State University (LSU) women’s basketball player Danielle Ballard tragically lost her life early Thursday morning after being struck by a vehicle. The incident occurred at the intersection of Coleman Road and Raleigh-Lagrange Road in Memphis, Tennessee, as confirmed by the Memphis Police Department.

Authorities responded to reports of a pedestrian being hit by a vehicle around 1:30 a.m. Danielle Ballard, 29, was promptly transported to a nearby hospital but was pronounced deceased upon arrival. 

Eyewitness Latieshica Douglas recounted the events to Fox News 3, stating that she and a friend observed Ballard walking in the middle of the street. Ballard disclosed to Douglas that she had recently been pepper sprayed by security at Blue Ice, a local bar and lounge. The circumstances leading to Ballard being pepper sprayed have not been disclosed.

Tragedy strikes former LSU women’s basketball player

According to Fox News 3, Douglas made desperate attempts to warn Ballard of the imminent danger, urging her to move out of the street. Disoriented, Ballard expressed her inability to see.

“We holler out the window like ‘Baby, you got to get out the street. You’re in the street,’ and she just kept hollering ‘I can’t see, I can’t see,’” Douglas recounted.  Before Douglas and her friend could intervene, a speeding vehicle approached, striking Ballard with devastating force, ultimately running her over.

LSU expressed profound grief over the loss of Ballard, acknowledging her remarkable contributions as a “standout basketball player” at the university. Ballard boasted impressive game averages of 12.1 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 2.8 assists while playing basketball for LSU.

The university issued a statement conveying their sadness and underscoring Ballard’s integral role within their women’s basketball community. “We are deeply saddened by the passing of Danielle…It’s difficult to understand why this happened to someone who was so full of life and had so much promise,” the statement read.

Sports community mourns loss

The basketball community, as well as those touched by Ballard’s inspiring journey, mourn the loss of a talented athlete, author, and compassionate youth advocate.

ESPN reporter Andraya Carter, who played college basketball at the University of Tennessee, extended her condolences to the LSU women’s basketball program and shared her personal experience competing against Ballard in a tweet saying, “Danielle was a great competitor, a walking BUCKET who was quick to try and snatch your ankles on the court but always down to share a laugh with you after. It was an honor to share the court with her. Sending love to her family, coaches and teammates.”

The driver involved in Ballard’s death has not been publicly identified but cooperated with authorities at the scene of the accident.

The Memphis Police Department revealed that they are actively conducting an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the tragic incident that claimed the life of Danielle Ballard.