Freshman linebacker dies in car accident

Updated: October 28, 2003, 4:57 AM ET

PORTALES, N.M. -- A woman has been arrested on a manslaughter charge in the crash that killed an Eastern New Mexico University football player.

Eric Hodgest, a 19-year-old linebacker who was redshirting his freshman year, died after his vehicle was rear-ended Sunday on Interstate 40 in Amarillo.

Hodgest was driving westbound when a car struck the back of his vehicle, according to a news release from the Amarillo Police Department. Hodgest died at the scene. The female driver, who was not identified, was booked in the Potter County Correction Center on a charge of intoxication manslaughter.

Hodgest was remembered Monday as someone who always smiled and made everybody laugh.

"This type of thing happening to somebody you know is kind of crazy, you never really believe it," said fellow ENMU student Eric Patton. "I don't think I've grasped it yet that I'm not going to see him like tomorrow or later on today."

ENMU football coach Bud Elliott said Greyhound players will miss Hodgest.

"He had a lot of good friends on the team," Elliott said. "He was just a bubbly kind of guy and a pretty good football player."

Teammate Mark Baca remembers when he and Hodgest bet whether Florida or Texas had a bigger high school football following.

Hodgest won that bet after he took Baca to a football game at his former high school -- Palo Duro High in Amarillo -- and more than 15,000 fans were in attendance.

"He told me: 'This is Texas football. I know Florida doesn't have this big of a crowd.' I told him, 'Yeah you're right," Baca said.

"A good person has left and I think it was too early," Baca said.

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index