The last time Dwayne Haskins talked to his wife, he told her that he was on his way to get gas. Haskins was in South Florida with a group of Pittsburgh Steelers teammates for training. On the morning of April 9, he called his wife, Kalabrya Haskins, back in Pittsburgh. He told her that he was stuck on the side of the highway and he was going to get gas, she told a 911 operator. But then she didn’t hear back from him.
This was very unlike her husband, she said. She called and called his phone but got no answer, and then his phone stopped working. So Kalabrya Haskins called 911, wanting to see if they could get someone to check and see if Haskins was OK.
“I’m in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. I’m at home. We were on the phone. He was getting back and he called me,” Kalabrya Haskins said. “And so, if he’s back, it’s not like him for him to, you know, not call me back. His phone is all dead. And he’s stranded by himself. He was walking, though.”
“All right so I don’t want you to panic, but I’m gonna be honest with you do,” the 911 operator responded. “We do have an incident on the highway, but I can’t confirm if that’s your husband.”
Kalabrya Haskins asked the operator if they knew anything about the incident. The dispatcher had Kalabrya Haskins give a brief description of what her husband looked like and what he was probably wearing at the time. The 911 operator then told Kalabrya Haskins that she needed to put her on a brief hold while she talked to dispatch.
While Kalabrya Haskins waited on hold, she prayed.
When the hold ended, the 911 operator returned but with no new information she could give Kalabrya Haskins. She told Kalabrya Haskins that she couldn’t confirm anything, but asked her to stay by her phone and accept any calls from blocked or private numbers, because that might be law enforcement trying to reach her with an update. Kalabrya Haskins asked if accident meant something good or bad. Could it be just someone reporting a man walking? The 911 operator said that she couldn’t confirm anything beyond an accident had happened.
The answer would come hours later, when it was reported that Haskins had died after being struck by a dump truck on I-595 in Broward County. Kalabrya Haskins’s call to 911 that morning ended up the last of several that 911 received; several other people called before to report a man being struck on the highway. Recordings of the calls were released on Wednesday by the Broward Sheriff’s Office.
In one, a woman sounds frantic; she’s screaming and crying. She told the 911 operator that she saw a dump truck hit a man A second caller also said she saw a man get struck. She does her best to describe the location to 911 while screaming at people to get off the road.
What happened is still being investigated by the Florida Highway Patrol. The final traffic homicide report is not done; FHP said they typically take about 90 days. But FHP has released a copy of the initial crash report. According to that report, a dump truck was heading westbound in the center lane of on I-595, just east of I-95, at about 6:30 a.m. About the same time, a witness told FHP that she saw a man, later identified as Haskins, walking on the “outside line edge” of I-595. He then he walked southbound into the westbound lanes, according to the report. That’s when, according to FHP, the dump truck struck Haskins. Another witness told FHP that the dump truck driver did seem to veer, possibly trying to avoid hitting Haskins, per the report. The dump truck driver stayed at the scene.
A memorial service for Haskins is scheduled for Friday in Pittsburgh. Memorials also are scheduled in Rockaway Township, New Jersey and Potomac, Maryland. Four days after his death, Kalabrya Haskins released a statement.
“My husband was more than a great football player,” she said. “He had the smile of a rainbow that touched the diversity of so many. He will forever rest and remain in our hearts til the end of time.”
His parents also issued a statement.
“Anyone who knew Dwayne knows he worked exceptionally hard to achieve such a high level of success at such a young age. He was touched by so many people on his journey to being a standout athlete and we are grateful to all of them,” they said. “This pain is unimaginable and we appreciate everyone who shares in our heartbreak.”