A 25-year-old man is in critical condition following an accident Monday on U.S. Hwy. 281.

Francisco Rodriguez, a special education assistant at Gilbert Intermediate, was reportedly heading to the school’s Christmas party when his vehicle was struck from behind and pushed into oncoming traffic. 

According to the DPS accident report, Rodriguez, driving a 2009 Dodge Charger, was stopped on Hwy. 281 waiting for northbound traffic to clear before turning left into a parking area when he was hit from behind by a Chevrolet pickup driven by 23-year-old Brian Kelly of Commerce.

Rodriguez’s vehicle was pushed into oncoming traffic and struck by a Western Star commercial vehicle driven by 65-year-old Jakie Compton of Stephenville.  

Rodriguez was transported by air to Texas Health Fort Worth after suffering from a skull fracture and bleeding on his brain. He is reportedly in a coma. 

The other two drivers were not injured. 

Rodriguez, who is from Venezuela, is a former baseball standout at Tarleton State University who played center field. He is currently working on his master’s degree. 

During his time as a TSU baseball player, Rodriguez led the team to a Lone Star Conference Tournament Championship.

“We are keeping Francisco and his family in our thoughts and prayers,” said Tarleton spokesperson Cecilia Jacobs.