A Tarleton State University freshman was killed early Tuesday morning after the vehicle he was riding in smashed into a retaining wall.

Stephen R. Cage, 19, was pronounced dead at the scene. Cage was a management, marketing and administrative systems major from Conroe.

“Our concern is with the family and friends of Stephen, said Tarleton President Dennis P. McCabe. “Our thoughts and prayers are with them as well as the other students involved in the accident.

Three other Tarleton freshmen in the vehicle were taken to Harris Methodist Erath County Hospital. Ryan D. Mason, 18, of Colleyville, and Ryan K. Crutsinger, 18, are in stable condition. Matthew S. Ulibarri, 18, of Nocona, was treated and released.

Details surrounding the accident are sketchy, but what is known is that university police responded to the accident shortly after 3 a.m. Tuesday. The students were traveling in a black SAAB that apparently slammed into a retaining wall in a parking lot on Washington and Lillian Streets. University officials said the cause of the accident is still being investigated.

Tarleton has lost two freshmen in vehicular accidents since the beginning of the fall semester. Last week, 18-year-old Lora Wulfjen of Breckenridge, died after sustaining injuries in a motorcycle accident.

Memorial services for Cage are still pending.

SARA VANDEN BERGE is Managing Editor of the Empire-Tribune. She can be reached at 254-968-2379, ext. 240.