On the heels of the University of Georgia’s nationwide championship victory, police at the moment are investigating a fatal single-car car crash early Sunday that killed football player Devin Willock and staff member Chandler LeCroy simply hours after the Bulldogs’ triumphant celebration with followers, authorities mentioned.
Shortly earlier than 3 a.m. Sunday, LeCroy, 24, was driving with Willock, 20, and two different passengers close to the UGA campus in Athens when the car went off the street, barreling into two energy poles and a number of timber, the Athens-Clarke County Police Department mentioned in a launch.
Willock died on the scene and LeCroy died after being taken to a hospital, police mentioned. LeCroy was a football recruiting analyst for UGA, in line with her LinkedIn.
A 26-year-old feminine passenger was severely injured and a 21-year-old male passenger obtained minor accidents, in line with police. The college confirmed the 2 surviving passengers are additionally members of the football program, however didn’t establish them.
However, the Athens Banner-Herald reported Sunday that Warren McClendon, the Bulldogs’ beginning offensive deal with, was the male passenger, citing the player’s father. The father instructed the newspaper McClendon required stitches on his brow however is “doing well.”
Earlier Saturday afternoon, Sanford Stadium and the encircling streets have been brimming with ecstatic followers who had come to have a good time the Bulldogs’ second straight national championship. But by the following morning, that they had joined the staff in mourning the sudden lack of Willock and LeCroy.
Die-hard fan Daniel Dewitt attended Saturday’s victory parade and instructed CNN Willock was “upbeat and happy” because the staff handed throngs of supporters draped in pink and black.
“It’s just heartbreaking coming off a celebratory week. And the parade yesterday, getting to see this player and then come to find out he lost his life early this morning, the entire Bulldog nation is at a loss,” Dewitt mentioned.
Photos of the crash website taken by residents who stay close by present a wood energy pole snapped in half and the car’s body crumpled towards an condo constructing.
“That car dented like a tin can,” Cecily Pangburn, a resident of the condo complicated instructed CNN. She described listening to a loud bang when the crash occurred, adopted by her energy going out.
The investigation into the crash is ongoing, police mentioned. Investigators have requested anybody with info to contact authorities.
The two younger UGA staff members have been remembered by several university leaders as vibrant and valued presences within the football program.
“Devin was an outstanding young man in every way. He was always smiling, was a great teammate and a joy to coach,” head football coach Kirby Smart mentioned in a press release Sunday.
“Chandler was a valuable member of our football staff and brought an incredible attitude and energy every single day,” Smart mentioned.
Support for the Bulldogs additionally flooded in from throughout the faculty football neighborhood on Sunday, together with from head coaches Brian Kelly of Louisiana State University and Hugh Freeze of Auburn University.
“These two special people meant the world to our football program and athletic department,” UGA athletics director Josh Brooks mentioned in a statement. “We are working with our medical staff and mental health and performance team to ensure our staff and student-athletes have all the support they need during this extremely difficult time.”
Willock, a redshirt sophomore from New Milford, New Jersey, joined the staff as a freshman in 2020, in line with UGA’s football roster. He performed on the offensive line in all 15 of the staff’s video games this yr.
The player spent Saturday with followers, soaking within the victory of final week’s championship win. But one fan particularly bought some high quality time with Willock within the hours earlier than his demise.
Willock met starstruck 7-year-old Camdyn Gonzales after the younger fan noticed Willock as he was leaving the Texas Roadhouse restaurant in Athens on Saturday.
The player gave Camdyn a fist bump and let the boy attempt on his monumental 2021 championship ring.
“He was humble and very appreciative that we knew who he was and wanted to talk to him,” Camdyn’s grandfather, Sam Kramer, mentioned, including that Willock appeared “so full of life and just happy.”
Dewitt, the fan who noticed Willock in Saturday’s parade, instructed CNN he has a 2021 UGA championship tattoo and plans to get an identical one for this season’s victory. This time, he mentioned, it should characteristic Willock’s quantity, 77.