Former NBA player Griffin dies in car crash

HOUSTON (TICKER) Eddie Griffin, a former Houston Rockets and Minnesota Timberwolves power forward, was identified as the man who died when the SUV he was driving plowed into a moving train in southeast Houston last week.

Griffin, 25, drove his SUV through a railroad crossing barrier and into a moving train at about 1:30 a.m. on August 17, officials said.

The vehicle burst into flames on impact, damaging Griffin’s body so badly that investigators had to use his dental records to verify his identity Tuesday, a report in the Houston Chronicle stated.

“The entire organization is devastated and saddened by this terrible tragedy,” Rockets owner Leslie Alexander said. “Our thoughts go out to Eddie’s family and friends during this very difficult time.”

The Harris County Medical Examiner’s office identified the body.

Griffin faced off-court troubles throughout his NBA career. The No. 7 pick by the New Jersey Nets in the 2001 draft out of Seton Hall, he was released on March 17 by the Timberwolves after various off-court issues.

“The entire Minnesota Timberwolves organization is deeply saddened by this tragic news,” Timberwolves vice president of basketball operations Kevin McHale said. “Eddie will be missed by everyone who knew him. Our thoughts and prayers are with Eddie’s loved ones.”

He averaged 7.2 points and 5.8 rebounds in five seasons.

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Updated Tuesday, Aug 21, 2007