The son of a baseball coach at the University of Miami who was himself a high school football player in the city died as part of a tragic car crash in Miami-Dade County.
As reported by the Miami Herald and a host of other local outlets, Miami Columbus football and baseball player Ari Arteaga died when the Jeep he was driving bumped a median and eventually struck a concrete utility pole. His girlfriend, Our Lady of Lourdes Academy volleyball standout Indira Rambarran, suffered incapacitating injuries but was still alive on Monday. According to the Herald, the accident knocked out power to a Miami neighborhood and the two teens had to be removed from the car with the jaws of life.
Arteaga was driving the vehicle when it crashed. No blood or toxicology tests were performed on the scene.
Arteaga and his teammates were scheduled to start preseason practices Sunday at midnight but called off the Midnight Madness festivities in the aftermath of the tragic accident.
Arteaga’s father, Hurricanes pitching coach J.D. Arteaga, is also the best friend of Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora. The Boston skipper was openly crushed by the loss of the younger Arteaga, and was one of three Red Sox coaches to inscribe “AA” on the front of their caps for Sunday’s game at Fenway Park.
“Today was a tough day for us as a family,” Cora told the media Sunday. “… J.D. Arteaga, the pitching coach from U of M, he’s my best friend. They adopted me, basically, when I went to Miami. What happened to Ari, I can’t even explain it. It puts everything in perspective.
“You know, we get caught up in this madness that is the pennant race and the A.L. East and the Red Sox and the Yankees, but you know what? At the end, this is just baseball. … There’s a lot of people here that know J.D. and Ari and to go through the night and all the phone calls and everything that happened with the kid, God bless him. He’s 16. He was 16, you know? My daughter is 15. I probably had the toughest call of my life this morning just to tell her what happened. So, I’m glad we won. I’m glad we were able to play and I was able to relax, but it’s been a tough day for me. So, that’s for him.”
Cora’s remembrance of the younger Arteaga was echoed by the man who coached by Cora and the elder Arteaga at Miami, then later hired J.D. Arteaga to work on his staff.
“He’s an absolute clone of J.D.—a great kid, great athlete and great student,” former Miami baseball coach Jim Morris told the Herald. “Ari grew up in our ballpark. Everyone is devastated. I don’t even know how J.D. can handle this. Ari was everything you’d want in a son.’’