Georgia football player Devin Willock was not wearing his seat belt when he was thrown out of his car in a weekend crash that killed him and a recruiting staff member, police said.
A police report released Tuesday cited speeding on the road, which has a speed limit of 40 mph (64 km/h), as one of the main causes of the accident.
accident happened 2:45 a.m. Sunday in Athens, less than two miles from the university campus. A few hours earlier, the Bulldogs held a parade through town and held a ceremony at Sanford Stadium to honor their second straight national championship.
Willock, 20, an offensive lineman for the Bulldogs, was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the vehicle, 24-year-old recruiting analyst Chandler LeCroy, died shortly after being taken to the hospital.
There were two other people in the car, including offensive lineman Warren McClendon, who had just announced on Saturday that he would enter the NFL draft.
Like LeCroy, McClendon was wearing a shoulder and knee immobilizer while sitting in the right front passenger seat, police said. He suffered only minor injuries, which the Athens-Clark County Police report described as a laceration to his forehead.
Another member of the Georgia State football team, Victoria Bowles, was hospitalized with serious injuries. She and Willock sat in the back seat without seat belts, the report said.
Police investigators said the 2021 Ford Expedition “failed to negotiate the left curve, causing the vehicle’s front passenger tire to strike the curb and exit the roadway on the west shoulder.”
The SUV crashed into a utility pole and another in Georgia, cutting them in half, before crashing into a tree in the rear passenger quarter panel. This caused the vehicle to spin in a clockwise direction before crashing into another tree on the driver’s side – where both LeCroy and Willock were sitting.
“This caused the vehicle to spin counterclockwise before eventually leaning against the apartment building,” the report said, adding that a vehicle parked in front of a unit was also struck by the out-of-control SUV.
While the investigation continues, LeCroy was not tested for alcohol or drugs, the report said. Investigators did not give an estimated speed and did not know the condition of the driver at the time of the crash.
The report also lists other unspecified factors as contributors.
The crash suddenly turned the festive mood on Georgia’s campus into mourning.
“The best roommate, teammate and brother I could have asked for. I can’t even say anything,” said Xavier Truss, who played alongside Willock on the offensive line, wrote on twitter“Wish I could hear that stupid laugh for the last time. Heaven’s got a good guy. Love you forever, Dev.”
Willock is a 6-foot-7, 335-pound redshirt sophomore from New Milford, New Jersey.
In the 2022 season, he played extensively off the bench and played right guard in the Southeastern Conference’s wins over Tennessee and Kentucky.
With McClendon and offensive lineman Warren Erickson both headed to the NFL draft, Willock could be in contention for a starting job in 2023 as the Bulldogs clinch their third straight national title.
Condolences have been expressed on football shows across the country. Nebraska posted Willock and LeCroy’s names on video boards at Memorial Stadium.
“Our hearts are heavy today. No words but prayers for (Georgia Athletics) and the families of Devin and Chandler,” Cornhuskers coach Matt Rhule tweeted.
Hours after the crash, Georgia coach Kirby Smart tweeted a photo of the two victims.
“Already miss you,” he wrote Willock. “Missing you tonight, Devin.”
Smart commented on LeCroy: “Too early. Chandler, I will always remember your kindness.”
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