Deion Jackson-Houston, Star Basketball Recruit, Dies in Crash With Train
Deion Jackson-Houston, a talented point guard from Duncanville, Texas, was supposed to be headed for a breakout week in many ways. As the leader of Texas Bluechips-Navy, an elite Amateur Athletic Union 17-and-under basketball team, Jackson-Houston was considered the main attraction for college scouts at this week's Great American Shoot-Out, a summer showcase tournament that will start play Friday in Duncanville.
Jackson-Houston, however, will not be among the participating players.
That's because Jackson-Houston, rated as one of the top recruits in the Class of 2012, died over the Fourth of July holiday weekend when a train crashed into a car he was driving in Duncan, Okla.
"I'm still in shock," Duncanville boys basketball coach Eric McDade told the Dallas Morning News. "He was a great kid, the type of kid every parent would love to have. The kids loved him and he was well-liked on our campus. He always had a smile on his face and a joy to be around. He was a good basketball player but even a better person. You don't think about this kind of thing happening and when it does, you just realize how precious life really is."
Stacy Houston, Jackson-Houston's father, said that the accident happened while the family was visiting relatives. Jackson-Houston was by himself on a trip to a local Family Dollar store when a train hit the back passenger side door of the automobile he was driving at about 7 p.m. on Saturday.
"It wasn't like he was going around the guard rail or trying to beat the train," Stacy Houston told the Dallas Morning News. "They said he was driving up and he had slowed down before he proceeded on. It sounds like he didn't see or hear the train and it hit him. It was just a freak accident that happened, just tragic."
The train reportedly dragged Jackson-Houston's car almost two blocks before it pushed the automobile off the tracks.
According to his father, Jackson-Houston (who turned 17 on June 23) did not have a pulse when he was placed in an ambulance but later regained one at Duncan Regional Hospital.
"If you would have seen him, he looked like he could have gotten up and played a game," Stacy Houston said. "I just knew he was going to be alright, but the internal injuries were so bad."
Two hours later, Jackson-Houston was flown to OU Medical Center in Oklahoma City where he died after 11 p.m.
"Those small planes shake a lot and with it shaking, the machine beeped and I looked at his hand and it was moving," Stacy Houston said about the flight to OU Medical Center.
"We just thought it was the plane shaking, but I grabbed his hand and started talking to him and he squeezed it real tight for a couple of seconds and I just continued to hold his hand ... I told my wife later that I think he was telling me goodbye at that point."
Last season, Jackson-Houston was a starter for Duncanville and played next to three highly-regarded players in Perry Jones, an All-American forward/center, Julian Washburn and Luke Mergerson. According to his father, Jackson-Houston had scholarship offers from Southern Methodist, Florida International, Baylor, Old Dominion, San Jose State, North Texas, San Diego State and Bradley.
"It will never be the same," Thomas Gipson, a teammate with Jackson-Houston at Duncanville, told Dallas Fox4 News. "He was right there with me, he was always my point guard. He would pass me the ball and I would pass him the ball."
More than 1,300 people have taken to Facebook to pay tribute to Jackson-Houston by leaving messages and sharing stories on a page titled: "rest in peace DEION JACKSON HOUSTON."