WT student dies after jumping from car

The Canyon Police Department has released the details of the accident that resulted in the death of a senior West Texas A&M University student on Tuesday. (File Photo)

UPDATE: 2:15 p.m.

The National Chapter of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity has issued a statement regarding the death of Treston Johnson.

ATO Chief Executive Officer Wynn Smiley's statement said:

Alpha Tau Omega mourns the tragic loss of Treston Johnson. Treston was a great brother who had been a member of ATO for three years. We join the campus community in its tribute to Treston.
Contrary to some media reports, Treston was not taking part in a fraternity activity at the time of his accident. In fact, no fraternity event was scheduled that evening or was being held.
ATOs are supporting Treston’s family in this difficult time and are taking part in efforts to raise funds to assist the family. His chapter mates are also grieving their loss. ATO asks that you respect their privacy at this time.


The Canyon Police Department has released the details of the accident that resulted in the death of a senior West Texas A&M University student on Tuesday.

According to Police Chief Dale Davis, at about 8:30 p.m., officers were sent to the Campus Evolution Villages Apartment complex in reference to possible pedestrian being hit by an automobile. Upon arrival, police found a male lying in the parking lot on the south side of the complex.

Several people were attending to the injured subject. He was identified as 22-year-old Treston L. Johnson from Lubbock.

The investigation determined that Johnson had intentionally jumped out of a moving vehicle, resulting in fatal injuries. There were visible head injuries and no evidence was found indicating he was forced or pushed from the vehicle. Neither was evidence found indicating he had been struck by a passing motorist.

Johnson was transported to Northwest Texas Hospital in Amarillo where he died upon arrival. An autopsy has been ordered for Thursday morning in Lubbock.

Police say the evening began with the victim and three other individuals in a car on the east side of the apartment complex. The group was met by another vehicle of students. Several of the students were fraternity members, or pledges, of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity.

The fraternity is going through a period called "rushing" where new pledges are brought into the organization. Typically, recruitment takes place at the beginning of the fall semester. Rushing a fraternity includes participation in informal game-like events.

These informal games are intended to build comradery within the fraternity. The fraternity had an activity, or game, planned for Wednesday. The objective was said to have been to have pledges bring active members to the fraternity's lodge on a given day, where the group had additional events planned. This event is not intended for any to be hurt in any way.

On the night of the incident, it is thought that Johnson thought the event had begun and was allowed to avoid being taken to the lodge. Johnson would have been allowed to do anything to avoid being taken by the pledge.

Leading up to jumping from the car, all involved, including Johnson, were said to have been laughing and non-aggressive.

Davis says police will forward their findings to the Randall County District Attorney's Office for review.

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