July 21, 2024

Waylon Jennings’ nephew dead in crash near Levelland

Waylon Jennings’ nephew died following a single-vehicle crash Sunday morning near Levelland.

Justin Duane Jennings, 25, of Whiteface was traveling westbound on Highway 114, about three miles west of Levelland, when his vehicle veered off the road and struck a tree about 1 a.m. Sunday, according to an official with the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Jennings was pronounced dead at the scene.

“Lost one of the hardest working, brightest dudes in our family today,” Waylon’s son, Shooter Jennings, tweeted Sunday afternoon. “I’m gonna miss you man.”

Police said Jennings was wearing a seat belt when his 2010 Chevrolet Silverado pickup left the roadway into the south bar ditch, the official said. The pickup traveled about 200 feet in the ditch before striking a tree, overturning one time and striking a second tree.

Jennings’ friend and family shared stories and condolences over social media Sunday afternoon.

He was the nephew of Waylon Jennings, an outlaw country singer who started his career playing in Lubbockite Buddy Holly’s band.

Waylon Jennings had been set to fly on the plane that crashed in 1959, killing his good friend Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson, but he gave up his seat at the last minute.

“Holly became Waylon’s mentor, teaching him guitar licks, collaborating on songs, and producing Jennings’ first single,” according to waylonjennings.com.

Waylon Jennings has collaborated with many artists, including Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson and singing the theme song from “The Dukes of Hazzard.”

Police are still investigating the cause of the younger Jennings’ death.

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