Arizona Cardinals cornerback Jeff Gladney, who died alongside his girlfriend in a horrific car crash in Dallas, Texas, was reportedly behind the wheel and speeding when he lost control of his vehicle, police said. 

Dallas County Police said Gladney, 25, was driving in a white Mercedes SUV with his girlfriend, Andrea Mercedes Palacio, 26, when he clipped another car from behind at around 2:30am Monday morning, Fox 4 reported. 

The SUV then smashed into a pillar, killing Gladney, who is survived by a two-year-old son from a previous relationship, and Palacios. The two unidentified passengers in the other car did not suffer any major injury, according to police.

Images of the aftermath show the mangled car flipped upside down beside the pillar it struck, with tires and pieces of the SUV littered everywhere.     

No information has been given about whether or not Gladney – who was let go by the Minnesota Vikings in 2021 after being accused of ‘intentionally, knowingly and recklessly’ applying pressure to an ex-girlfriend’s neck and throat – was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the crash. 

Dallas County Police said Arizona Cardinals cornerback Jeff Gladney, 25, was driving in a white Mercedes SUV with his girlfriend, Andrea Mercedes Palacio, 26, when it crashed on Monday morning

Officials believe Gladney was speeding when he clipped another car from behind and lost control of his vehicle. The car slammed against a pillar and flipped upside down, killing Gladney and Palacio

Officials believe Gladney was speeding when he clipped another car from behind and lost control of his vehicle. The car slammed against a pillar and flipped upside down, killing Gladney and Palacio

The aftermath shows the mangled car, with tires and pieces of the SUV littered everywhere

The aftermath shows the mangled car, with tires and pieces of the SUV littered everywhere

The two unidentified passengers in the other car did not suffer any major injury, according to police

The two unidentified passengers in the other car did not suffer any major injury, according to police

Gladney had recently signed with the Arizona Cardinals after being let go from the Minnesota Vikings in 2021 after being accused of 'intentionally, knowingly and recklessly' applying pressure to an ex-girlfriend's neck and throat

Gladney had recently signed with the Arizona Cardinals after being let go from the Minnesota Vikings in 2021 after being accused of ‘intentionally, knowingly and recklessly’ applying pressure to an ex-girlfriend’s neck and throat

Mercedes Palacios is pictured in a Facebook post alongside Jeff Gladney. The two were in a relationship at the time of Monday's crash, that claimed both their lives

Mercedes Palacios is pictured in a Facebook post alongside Jeff Gladney. The two were in a relationship at the time of Monday’s crash, that claimed both their lives 

Dallas County police and Palacios’ family confirmed that she was the woman who died alongside Gladney following Monday morning’s collision.

Palacios shared a photo on her Instagram of herself cuddling up to Gladney during a recent holiday in Miami, with the NFL star’s distinctive ‘Interstate 30’ tattoo clearly visible on his left arm. Various other reporters have identified her as Gladney’s girlfriend. 

A video shared online by grieving family members shows Palacios riding in a car next to Gladney, who is driving, although it is unclear if the photo was taken on the evening of their deaths.  

‘It’s just two great souls gone,’ Palacios’s brother, John Paul Figueroa, told Dallas’ NBC affiliate. ‘She was just a loving, selfless person.’

Jeff Gladney

Mercedes Palacios

Gladney and Palacios both made separate posts during a recent break to Miami together, with the couple’s vacation only confirmed by a shot of them taking a bath together 

Gladney was father two a two year-old son called Kingston who was born during a previous relationship

Gladney was father two a two year-old son called Kingston who was born during a previous relationship 

Palacios had been working at a Dallas software and transportation firm alongside her brother John-Paul

Palacios had been working at a Dallas software and transportation firm alongside her brother John-Paul 

Palacios posted a photo of herself cuddling up to Gladney during a recent vacation to Miami, with the star's distinctive Interstate 30 tattoo clearly visible on his left arm

Palacios posted a photo of herself cuddling up to Gladney during a recent vacation to Miami, with the star’s distinctive Interstate 30 tattoo clearly visible on his left arm 

Mercedes Palacios was honored on Facebook by Ride4Health Cherry Tree

Mercedes Palacios was honored on Facebook by Ride4Health Cherry Tree

Palacios worked for a software and transportation firm Ride4Health alongside her brother John Paul. 

The company paid tribute to Palacios in a statement on Facebook: ‘It is with great sadness and heavy hearts that we share with you the loss of one of our extended Ride4Health employees. Early yesterday morning, Ride4Health ▪︎ the Dallas, Texas Executive Service Location  lost a valued employee, loving family member, and beautiful friend. 

‘Mercedes Palacios passed away tragically in a vehicle accident near Dallas. She was 26 years old. She worked at Ride4Health under the direction of her brother John Paul.

‘Please join us in prayer for Mercedes and John Paul during this extremely difficult time. And keep their family, friends, and our extended Ride4Health family in your thoughts and continued prayers. We say it all of the time, Ride4Health is a Family. We’re here to support John Paul and each other. ❤

‘We’re personally sending our love to John Paul and his entire family. 

‘Thank you all for your care & concern and prayers of peace & healing. 

‘Rest In Peace, Mercedes’ 

Gladney's Mercedes SUV lost control and ran into a freeway pier beam (pictured)

Gladney’s Mercedes SUV lost control and ran into a freeway pier beam (pictured)

It's still not known if Gladney was driving or if he was intoxicated at the time of the wreck

It’s still not known if Gladney was driving or if he was intoxicated at the time of the wreck

The Dallas County Sheriff’s Department released more information about Monday’s car crash on Tuesday morning, stating that a white Mercedes SUV was speeding when it clipped another car from behind. The SUV lost control and ran into a freeway pier beam killing Gladney and Palacios. 

‘The crash involved 2 vehicles,’ read a statement from police provided to DailyMail.com.

‘Preliminary info indicates the white vehicle was speeding and clipped the second vehicle from behind. The white vehicle lost control and struck the pier beam of the Woodall Rogers Freeway. 

‘The second vehicle was occupied by two occupants and they were not injured. 

‘The WB Woodall Rogers Freeway service road at Allen Street was blocked for the accident investigation.’

Police are expected to release more details on Tuesday.

Palacios's brother, John, described her as 'a loving, selfless person' in an interview with NBC

Palacios’s brother, John, described her as ‘a loving, selfless person’ in an interview with NBC

Gladney’s agent and the Cardinals both reacted to his death Monday. 

‘We are devastated to learn of Jeff Gladney’s passing,’ read a Cardinals statement. ‘Our hearts go out to his family, friends and all who are mourning this tremendous loss.’

‘We are asking prayers for the family and privacy at this most difficult time,’ agent Brian Overstreet said.

In its statement, the NFL described Gladney’s death was a ‘tragic loss.’

Gladney was a standout at TCU before being taken by the Minnesota Vikings in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. He appeared in 16 games as a rookie, but was released in 2021 when he was charged for assaulting a woman.   

He was later acquitted on that charge, and subsequently signed with the Cardinals.  



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