As Royals fans and fellow major league ballplayers mourn the loss of Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura, the details surrounding the crash that took his life still remain a mystery.
Highway patrol spokeman Jacobo Mateo told ESPN Ventura died on a roadway leading to the town of Juan Adrian, about 40 miles northwest of the nation’s capital city of Santo Domingo.
Ventura was the only person in the vehicle at the time.
The vehicle appears to be Ventura’s custom blue and white Jeep.
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Investigators are still working to determine precisely what caused the crash, but Ventura was just one of two MLB players to die in a crash in the Dominican Republic that night, and now joins a list of professional athletes who have lost their lives on Dominican roadways.
Former MLB player Andy Marte, 33, also died in a separate crash in the Dominican Republic on Sunday.
Authorities said Marte crashed into a house along a road between San Francisco de Macrois and Pimentel, about 95 miles north of Santo Domingo, according to ESPN.
A 2015 report by the World Health Organization reveals that the Dominican Republic has the highest rate of traffic deaths of any country in the Americas, at a rate of 29.3 per 100,000 people.
Royals general manager Dayton Moore said in a conference call that the Royals organization emphasizes the dangers of driving in the Dominican Republic to players and club staff.
“I’m intentional about it to the point where maybe it goes in one ear and out the other. With Andy Marte this morning…, this is something that unfortunately happens way too often in the Dominican Republic. Whether it’s scouts, coaches or front office people, we feel extremely responsible as an organization to communicate effectively and challenge our players at every level of the organization about the importance of making great choices,” Moore said.
St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Oscar Taveras — Ventura’s close friend and a fellow Dominican — was killed in a crash at the age of 22 in his hometown of Puerto Plata in 2014.
Ventura paid tribute to Taveras by writing a message on his hat during Game Six of the 2014 World Series.
Shortstop Andújar Cedeño died in a crash in La Romana, Domincan Republic, in 2000. Cedeño played for the Houston Astros from 1990 to 1994, the San Diego Padres in 1995, and the Detroit Tigers before returning to the Astros in 1996.