Boxing Legend Pernell 'Sweet Pea' Whitaker Killed in Car Crash
By R.J. Johnson - @rickerthewriter
July 15, 2019
Boxing legend Pernell "Sweet Pea" Whitaker died Sunday after he was hit by a car in Virginia Beach, authorities said. He was only 55 years old.
Police reportedly received a call around 10 p.m. about an accident near the intersection of Northampton Boulevard and Baker Road in Virginia Beach, Virginia where they discovered the former Olympic champion winner badly injured after he had been struck by a driver. Police say Whitaker succumbed to his injuries and died following the crash.
"When officers arrived on scene they located an adult male victim who had been hit by a vehicle," a Virginia Beach Police spokesperson said. "[Whitaker] succumbed to his injuries on the scene. The driver of the vehicle remained on scene with police."
The driver of the vehicle that struck Whitaker remained at the scene and is cooperating with officers. It's not clear whether the driver was arrested.
Whitaker, whose career included bouts against the likes of Oscar de la Hoya, Greg Haugen, Jose Luis Ramirez and Julio Cesear Chavez, made a name for himself in 1984 after winning an Olympic gold medal at the Olympic Games in Los Angeles, California. The Norfolk, Virginia native was champion in four different WBC weight classes including; Lightweight, Light Welterweight, Welterweight and Light middleweight.
When he retired in 2001, Whitaker boasted a professional record of 40 wins, 17 by knockout, four losses and one draw. Ring Magazine ranked Whitaker as one of the ten greatest boxers of the last 80 years. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2006.
He's survived by his 5 children.
Police say they're investigating the crash that led to Whitaker's death.
Photo: Getty Images