Tomorrow evening at the University of Georgia, four students who lost their lives in a car accident over this past weekend will be memorialized along with all other UGA students who passed away this year. The most recent deaths have left the school stunned and in mourning. The loss of these lives hits close to home for many of us who are UGA alumi and who have traveled these roads many times over the years. As an Athens native, I have traveled this highway countless times, and I have driven and ridden on the two-laned highways leading in and out of the classic city for my entire childhood. This tragedy hits close to home. Personally, it is heartbreaking to me that the families of these girls will have to live with this for the rest of their lives. The investigation continues into exactly what happened, but that will do little to assuage the loss felt by the Athens community and the UGA family.
As the school year ends and students begin their summer break, four families, four communities and all of Georgia will be thinking about the loss of these young lives. The crash that ended the students’ lives is being investigated, but no obvious cause has been identified at this time. The sadness of this tragedy has hit home and was evident as the local authorities spoke about the tragedy.
What we do know is that the crash took place in the evening hours as the UGA students, all young women, were traveling north on Highway 15 only about 15 miles from Athens. There were five in one car. At one point in their journey, their vehicle crossed over the center line and struck another vehicle traveling south. The driver of that car was traveling alone and was taken to Athens Regional Medical Center in serious condition.
Four of the UGA students — all between the ages of 19 and 20 — who were passengers in the vehicle that crossed into the oncoming car, were killed in the crash. The driver who is also a UGA student, is still hospitalized and is believed to be in critical condition. The University community is praying for her recovery.
University of Georgia Vice President Victor K. Wilson asked the community to pray and to take care of one another. “We in the university community care for each other, and we especially treasure our students. The loss of four students in this tragic way is truly heartbreaking.” The Oconee County Sheriff’s department posted their condolences as well. The authorities were obviously affected by the weight of this tragedy as they appeared on local television.
Scholle Law mourns the loss of these young UGA students and sends our sympathies and condolences, our heartfelt sorrow to the family, friends and all the UGA community.