Police on Monday identified the two passengers injured in the single-vehicle accident that killed offensive lineman Devin Willock and a University of Georgia employee Chandler LeCroy early on Sunday, just hours after the team celebrated its national championship win.
Shortly before 3 a.m. Sunday, LeCroy, 24, was driving with Willock, 20, and two other passengers near the UGA campus in Athens when the vehicle veered off the road and crashed into two power poles and several trees, Athens police reported. -Clarke County The ministry reports this in a press release.
Willock was thrown from the vehicle and died at the scene, and LeCroy died after being taken to a hospital, police said.
“None of the other passengers were evicted from the plane,” said Lieutenant Shaun Barnett.
A redshirt sophomore from New Milford, New Jersey, Willock joined the team as a freshman in 2020 and played in all 15 of the team’s games on offense last season. According to her LinkedIn, LeCroy was a football recruiting analyst for UGA.
The two injured passengers in the crash were identified as Georgia offensive lineman Warren McClendon, 21, who suffered minor injuries, and Victoria Bowles, 26, who suffered serious injuries, according to police.
McClendon started the season right tackle for Georgia and declared for the NFL draft earlier Saturday. His father, Warren McClendon Sr., told the Athens Banner-Herald that he needed stitches on his forehead but was “doing fine”.
The crash came hours after Sanford Stadium and the surrounding streets were filled with ecstatic fans who had come to celebrate the Bulldogs’ second consecutive national championship. But the next morning they had joined the team mourning the sudden loss of Willock and LeCroy.
Willock’s aunt and uncle, Cicely and Normal Stout, said their cousin was well liked and did well in school.
“He did really well. He was well liked by all his peers and all the teachers and all the coaches,” said Cicely Stout. “Devin is always smiling no matter what. Devin has a smile on his face and he did a really good job in science. He did very well. He was a good, very good student, very good man.”
It is an unfortunately well-known tragedy for the family. Willock’s older brother, Jonathan Wheatley, died in 2009 at age 20 from injuries sustained in a similar car accident, Cicely Stout said.
“He left much, much too soon for us,” said Willock’s uncle.
The accident occurred just past a curved section of Barnett Shoals Road, where the speed limit is 40 mph. There is a sidewalk, but no barrier on the outer edge of the road.
The car went off the road and broke two power poles, drove downhill over a knoll and hit several trees and branches before coming to a stop at the edge of the apartment complex.
Photos of the crash site, taken by local residents, show a wooden utility pole broken in half and the car’s frame collapsed against an apartment building in Shoals Creek, about two miles from the UGA campus.
“That car dented like a can,” Cecily Pangburn, a resident of the apartment complex, told CNN. She described hearing a loud bang as the crash occurred, followed by her power going out.
Another resident, Jonathan D’Souza, said he was the first person to respond at the crash site. He told CNN he was watching television when he felt the ground shake and heard what sounded like gunfire outside his apartment.
When D’Souza went outside to see what was happening, he said it was pitch black because the power was out. It wasn’t until he saw sparks flying from dangling power lines in the middle of the street that he saw a mangled car drive into his neighbor’s house, he said.
D’Souza said he ran to the car and saw Willock lying face down next to the vehicle. D’Souza said he started yelling 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.
The investigation into the accident is ongoing, police said. The detective has asked anyone who has requested information to contact the authorities.
The two UGA team members were remembered by several university leaders as vibrant and valued attendees of the football program.
“Devin was an outstanding young man in every way. He was always smiling, a great teammate and a pleasure to coach,” head football coach Kirby Smart said in a statement on Sunday. “Chandler was a valuable member of our football staff, bringing incredible attitude and energy to every day.”
“These two special people meant everything to our football program and our athletic department,” UGA athletics director Josh Brooks said in a statement. pronunciation. “We are working with our medical staff and mental health and performance team to ensure that our staff and student-athletes receive all the support they need during this extremely difficult time.”
Willock spent Saturday with fans enjoying the joy of last week’s championship win. One fan in particular got some quality time with Willock in the hours before his death.
Willock met star-struck 7-year-old Camdyn Gonzales after the young fan spotted Willock as he left the Texas Roadhouse restaurant in Athens on Saturday.
The player punched Camdyn and made the boy try on his massive 2021 championship ring.
“He was humbled and very grateful that we knew who he was and wanted to talk to him,” said Camdyn’s grandfather, Sam Kramer, adding that Willock seemed “so alive and just happy.”
Daniel Dewitt, a local UGA fan, attended Saturday’s victory parade and told CNN that Willock was “cheerful and happy” as the team passed crowds of supporters draped in red and black.
“It’s just heartbreaking to come out of a festive week. And the parade yesterday, to see this player and then find out early this morning that he lost his life, the entire Bulldog nation is at its wits’ end,” Dewitt said.
Dewitt told CNN he has a tattoo of the 2021 UGA championship and plans to get a matching tattoo for this season’s win. This time, he said, Willock’s number, 77, will be there.