KINGMAN, Ariz. — Four people were killed Sunday afternoon when a Dallas Cowboys bus headed for Las Vegas for a fan club event collided with a van on a highway in northwestern Arizona, authorities said.
The four who died were passengers in the van, Arizona Department of Public Safety spokesman Quentin Mehr said. The bus occupants emerged uninjured.
“All on the bus came through OK with some bumps and bruises,” Cowboys spokesman Rich Dalrymple said in an email.
Dalrymple said the bus occupants were member of the franchise’s staff, but would not say how many were on board. No players were on board.
The bus was headed to Las Vegas when the vehicles collided about 1:30 p.m. on U.S. Highway 93, about 30 miles north of Kingman, according to the Arizona public safety department. The crash shut down at least one lane of the highway that serves as the main route between Phoenix and Las Vegas.
DallasCowboys.com columnist Mickey Spagnola, who has been traveling on the bus along with the Cowboys’ mascot Rowdy, tweeted “Road Trippin’ 2016 about 80 miles outside Vegas, our next stop, 3 pm GameWorks.”
About 70 people lined up Sunday at GameWorks at Town Square in Las Vegas for a chance to snag an autograph from Spagnola and photos with the mascot.
But the opportunity, two years in the making, never came.
“We were excited to see that this was the first time coming to Las Vegas,” said Kathy Freeman, merchandising supervisor for the Las Vegas Dallas Cowboys Family club, which organized Sunday’s meet and greet. “We had been following them since the trip began in different cities on Facebook and how they were interacting with all of the fans.”
But she and her husband, LVDCF president Greg Freeman, said they are far more concerned for the families of those killed in the crash.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families,” Kathy Freeman said.
Greg Freeman said he received a call Sunday afternoon from Spagnola who said they were not able to attend the session, scheduled from 3 to 5 p.m.
“Being in Las Vegas, we don’t get a lot of Cowboys games. If you want to see the Cowboys, you go to Arizona, San Diego. So for them to stop here on the way to training camp, was really important,” Greg Freeman said. “But, due to the circumstances of what happened, what’s more important is that we send our prayers to the families that lost people.”
The Road Trippin’ 2016 itinerary began Thursday, stopping in Texas cities including Abilene, Lubbock, Midland and El Paso, and Deming, N.M. on Friday. On Saturday the bus visited Tucson, Ariz., and Peoria, Ariz., near Phoenix.
The itinerary on the team website lists the planned Sunday visit at GameWorks at Town Square , along with a West Hollywood, California, stop Monday before arrival at the final destination of the team’s training camp in Oxnard, California.
Members of the organization typically take a bus two weeks before the camp starts and make stops along the way.
Greg Freeman said Spagnola, who also hosts the Talkin’ Cowboys radio show, is the “voice” for the Cowboys.
Kathy Freeman said the event offered the chance for Cowboys fans to meet and interact, and that Spagnola and Rowdy were going to be giving away team memorabilia at GameWorks, the fan club’s new home for the 2016 NFL season.
“Being close to California, we’ll just now make a trip to Oxnard to go see them,” she said.
Kathy Freeman said the club also will charter a bus to Los Angeles for an Aug. 13 preseason game against the Rams.
Review-Journal writer Raven Jackson and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Contact Natalie Bruzda at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-477-3897. Follow @NatalieBruzda on Twitter.