Police report says driver was speeding in crash that killed University of Georgia football player and staffer
The SUV carrying four members of the University of Georgia football program, two of whom were killed, was exceeding the speed limit of 40 mph before it hit a curb and left the roadway, according to the crash report from the Athens-Clarke County Police Department released Tuesday.
University of Georgia football player Devin Willock and staff member Chandler LeCroy both died in the crash.
The report says the Ford Expedition driven by LeCroy “failed to negotiate a left curve, resulting in the vehicle striking a curb with its front passenger tire and leaving the roadway,” going on to strike a “(Georgia) Power Pole and another utility pole cutting them in half.”
After hitting the two poles, the vehicle “struck a tree with its rear passenger quarter panel and caused it to begin rotating clockwise where it struck another tree with its driver’s side,” the report continued.
Willock, who was seated behind LeCroy on the driver’s side, was ejected from the vehicle when it landed against the corner of an apartment building, according to the crash report. Willock, 20, died at the scene and LeCroy, 24, was pronounced dead at a hospital.
Victoria Bowles, the 26-year-old sitting in the back seat on the passenger side of the vehicle, sustained multiple injuries during the collision. She was transported to the hospital following the crash. The type of injuries is redacted in the report released Tuesday, which said she was not wearing a seat belt.
The front seat passenger, identified as 21-year-old Warren McClendon, sustained a laceration to his head during the crash, the report says. McClendon’s father told the Athens Banner-Herald that his son needed stitches but is “doing well.”
The report lists the “First Harmful Event” in the accident as hitting the curb and the “Most Harmful Event” as hitting a tree. It does not specify how fast the vehicle was going.
According to the report alcohol and drug tests were not administered to the driver at the crash site. The operating condition of the driver was listed as “Unknown.” CNN reached out to the Athens-Clarke County coroner for the toxicology results from LeCroy’s autopsy.
The crash occurred early Sunday, just hours after the team celebrated its latest national championship victory.
Willock, a redshirt sophomore from New Milford, New Jersey, joined the team as a freshman in 2020 and played on the offensive line in all 15 of the team’s games this past season. LeCroy was a football recruiting analyst for the team, according to her LinkedIn.
McClendon is an offensive lineman who started at right tackle for Georgia this season and declared for the NFL draft earlier Saturday.
Bowles is also a member of the Georgia football staff.
The crash came hours after Sanford Stadium and the surrounding streets were brimming with ecstatic fans who had come to celebrate the Bulldogs’ second straight national championship. But by the next morning, they had joined the team in mourning the sudden loss of Willock and LeCroy.
Willock’s aunt and uncle, Cicely and Norman Stout, said their nephew was well liked and a good student.
“He was doing very well. He was very loved by all his peers and all the teachers and all the coaches,” Cicely Stout said. “Devin is always smiling, no matter what. Devin has a smile on his face and he was doing very well in academics. He was doing very good. He was good, very good student, very good person.”
It’s an unfortunately familiar tragedy for the family. Willock’s older brother, Jonathan Wheatley, died in 2009 at the age of 20 from injuries sustained in a similar car crash, Cicely Stout said.
“He’s gone way, way too soon for us,” Willock’s uncle said.
University of Georgia Athletics has shared links on its social media for people wishing to support the families.
“We have been overwhelmed and touched by the outpouring of love and support for the Willock and LeCroy families,” officials tweeted. “Many people have reached out asking how to help.
Donate to the Willock family:
Donate to the LeCroy family:
The investigation into the crash is ongoing, police said. Investigators have asked anyone with information to contact authorities.
What the crash scene looked like
The crash occurred just beyond a curved section of Barnett Shoals Road. There is a sidewalk, but no barrier on the outer edge of the road.
Photos of the crash site taken by nearby residents show a wooden power pole snapped in half and the SUV’s frame crumpled against an apartment building in Shoals Creek, about two miles from the Georgia campus.
“That car dented like a tin can,” Cecily Pangburn, a resident of the apartment complex, told CNN. She described hearing a loud bang when the crash happened, followed by her power going out.
Another resident, Jonathan D’Souza, said he was the first person to respond to the scene of the crash. He told CNN he was watching television when he felt the ground shake and heard what sounded like gunshots outside his apartment.
When D’Souza went outside to see what happened, he said it was pitch black because the power had gone out. It wasn’t until he saw sparks flying from dangling power lines in the middle of the street that he was able to see a mangled SUV smashed into his neighbor’s house, he said.
D’Souza said he ran toward the SUV and saw Willock lying face down next to the vehicle. D’Souza said he started screaming at an unresponsive Willock asking if he was okay.
“It was the most helpless feeling because you wish you could save him, but you know he’s already gone,” D’Souza said.
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