Former Clovis West Student-Athlete Killed in Car Accident

19-year-old Tyson Hilliard, former Clovis West student-athlete, died in a car accident on Sunday, Jan. 24. (Photo from Clovis West Athletics Twitter)

The Clovis West community is grieving after 19-year-old Tyson Hilliard died in a car accident Sunday morning.

Fresno California Highway Patrol received notice of a traffic collision with power lines down near North and Temperance Ave at around 8:15 a.m Sunday.

According to the preliminary CHP report, Hilliard was driving a Toyota 4Runner westbound on North Ave. when he drifted off the roadway and, in an attempt to get back on the road, overcorrected and collided into a wooden power pole.

The power pole sheared at its base upon impact and fell to the ground along with its power lines.

Hilliard exited the vehicle and unintentionally grabbed a live power line hanging near his vehicle. He was pronounced dead at the scene by fire personnel, with injuries consistent with electrocution.

Hilliard’s uncle, Josh Price, created a GoFundMe account on Monday to help fund the memorial service, with the donations goal set for $5,000.

By Wednesday, the account raised $10,121 in contributions from community members.

“The love & support you have all shown is uplifting, to know so many people care or were touched by Tyson makes me smile,” Josh Price wrote on the GoFundMe page Wednesday.

Price also announced that the page will be closed as the family doubled their desired goal.

Hilliard competed in football and wrestling at Clovis West High School. He received the Character Counts award in wrestling his senior season and graduated as part of the Class of 2019.

“Tyson was a tremendous competitor who battled every minute,” Clovis West athletic director Matt Loggins said. “He was a great teammate and friend. I appreciate his willingness to improve in all areas of life.”

Hilliard played varsity football at Clovis West in 2017 and 2018 as a defensive back. Former coaches and mentors offered their memories of Hilliard in the wake of the tragedy.

The Clovis West football program tweeted: “We are saddened to hear the passing of former Golden Eagle Tyson Hilliard. Tyson was tough, smart and loyal; a great teammate and even better person. His smile and vibrant personality were equally infectious, and he will be missed by so many. Our hearts go out to his family.”

Damon Jenkins, defensive backs coach at Clovis West, tweeted in memory of Hilliard: “You were one heck of a player, but your value to this Earth had very little to do with sports. It was the type of person you were.”

Outside of Clovis West, Hilliard served his community as a mentee for Purpose Field, a football training and mentoring program ran by Elon Paige.

“He had a marvelous future ahead of him as a young adult finding his way. God needed him early for a purpose and we know he is safe and seated cracking jokes as usual,” Paige stated in a tweet. “We are truly thankful for the many life conversations, athletic engagements, and personal fellowship.”

A candlelight vigil was held in memory of Hilliard Tuesday night at the scene of the accident.

Gabriel Camarillo
Gabriel Camarillo has written for the Clovis Roundup since August 2019 and follows high school athletics, Fresno State football and former Clovis Unified student-athletes. Gabe also writes for The Collegian as a staff sports writer and works at One Putt Broadcasting as a board op for 940 ESPN radio.