Late last night (December 6), it was reported that Luis Valbuena, 33, and Jose Castillo, 37, were killed in a car accident. More details are coming in this morning. I will try to update this post as needed. Separate posts about the two players will be forthcoming.
Valbuena and Castillo were teammates on the Cardenales de Lara, a team in the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League. The Cardenales had played a game in University Stadium at Caracas and were en route to Barquisimeto for a game today. The car, which also held teammate and former Red Sox infielder Carlos Rivero and Rivero’s chauffeur, struck a rock that had slid onto the road. Castillo and Valbuena were ejected from the vehicle and were killed; Rivero and the chauffeur survived. I have not heard any further reports on the condition of the survivors.
Update: Video tribute posted by NLB Network.
UPDATE (12-9-18): This story may have taken an even more tragic turn, as CBS Sports and the Los Angeles Times is reporting, via Beisbol.Play.com, that Luis Valbuena and Jose Castillo may have killed as part of a robbery attempt. Four suspects who were arrested had Valbuena’s and Castillo’s personal belongs in their possession. It’s reported that criminals in Venezuela have been known to throw rocks at vehicles to cause accidents and then rob the victims. Neither Valbuena or Castillo were wearing seat belts when their car collided with a rock, and both were ejected from the vehicle. The two players chose to take a car along with teammate Carlos Rivero and a driver instead of the team bus because they had appointments with the U.S. Embassy, according to a Cardinales de Lara spokesman.