Remembering Darius Shackleford

Darius Shackleford was killed Saturday, Feb 6. in a fatal car crash near the Albert Street and McGuffey Road inter- section. Photo courtesy of YSUSPORTS

By Jordan Boitnott 

The community lost Youngstown State University alumnus Darius “Shack” Shackleford Saturday night in a fatal car accident. According to WKBN News, he was sitting in a parked car when he was hit by another vehicle during a police chase. The vehicle then fled the scene. 

The 24-year-old attended Youngstown State University from 2015-2020. Shackleford was a wide receiver on the football team. He was also a member of Fellowship of Christian Athletes and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in general studies last fall.

Officers with the Youngstown Police Department were initially pursuing a car driven by a 19-year-old male, according to the first police report released. The vehicle ran a red light before striking Shackleford, driving west near the Albert Street and McGuffey Road intersection. 

The Youngstown Police Department questioned and charged the driver of the vehicle, Adrienne Washington of Youngstown, Tuesday, Feb. 9. Washington was riding along with a 17-year-old passenger. 

Police Chief Carl Davis said he considers this an ongoing investigation. 

Shackleford grew up and attended high school in Newark, Ohio, where he was a three-sport star athlete, playing football, basketball and baseball. 

As a member of the YSU football team, Shackleford played special teams along with playing wide receiver. In 10 games played as wide receiver, he had 11 catches, 213 yards and two touchdowns. 

Shackleford was considered a “deep threat,” seen from his first touchdown of 42 yards and his second of 62 yards, according to the YSU Sports website.

Many of his teammates and coaches will remember him for his personality. Doug Phillips, YSU football head coach, tweeted a heartfelt response.

“Darius was not only a great player, but he was an even better teammate and friend. His smile and energy were infectious. He not only affected so many within the football department in a positive way but also crossed paths with the entire athletic department,” he posted Feb. 7. “We will all carry fond memories of him the rest of our lives. Our entire team and staff extends our deepest condolences to his family.” 

The morning after the incident, YSU President Jim Tressel tweeted his condolences.

“‘Please place the light in the hearts that feel darkness. Place the wings on the backs of those that feel hopeless’- Alicia Keys #QuietTime,” he posted.

Another tweet by Tressel read: “‘You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have’ – Bob Marley.” 

A memorial service was held for Shackleford at Stambaugh Stadium Wednesday at 6:00 p.m.