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Former high school football standout dead in I-630 wreck

By Gavin Lesnick

This article was published July 3, 2014 at 12:24 p.m.

A 21-year-old Little Rock man who was a standout high school football player was killed and two others were hurt in a crash on Interstate 630 early Thursday, authorities said.

Arkansas State Police say Jaalen Watkins was a passenger in a 2011 Dodge Charger traveling east on the highway at a high rate of speed shortly after 2 a.m.

According to a police report, the Charger made contact with a 2013 Dodge Charger that was also traveling east at high speed, sending both off the road near State Street. Both vehicles then overturned.

Watkins suffered fatal injuries. The driver of the Dodge Charger he was in, Natalia Matthews, 20, of Little Rock, and another passenger, David Simmons, 21, of Little Rock, were taken to UAMS Medical Center for treatment of unspecified injuries. Their conditions weren't immediately known.

Authorities did not immediately release information about the occupants of the second Charger. Arkansas State Police spokesman Bill Sadler said it was unclear whether anyone in that vehicle was injured, though he said Watkins was the only fatality in the crash.

Sadler said investigators were investigating an "unattributed" report that the two Chargers may have been racing.

"That is one question that is being asked in the investigation," he said.

Toxicology tests are also being conducted, and police are reviewing other evidence, Sadler added.

Watkins was a star running back at Central Arkansas Christian and Pulaski Robinson, earning the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Metro Sophomore of the Year honor in 2008.

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HM2 says... July 3, 2014 at 8:42 p.m.

May have been racing...No kidding?

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