Injured passengers identified in car crash that killed UGA football player, staffer

Jan 16, 2023, 3:21 PM
Devin Willock, left, and Chandler LeCroy were killed in a single-car crash early Sunday. (Universit...
Devin Willock, left, and Chandler LeCroy were killed in a single-car crash early Sunday. (University of Georga Athletics/chandler_lecroy via Instagram via CNN)
(University of Georga Athletics/chandler_lecroy via Instagram via CNN)

(CNN) — Police on Monday identified the two passengers injured in the single-vehicle car crash that killed University of Georgia offensive lineman Devin Willock and staff member Chandler LeCroy early Sunday, just hours after the team celebrated its national championship victory.

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 went off the road, barreling into two power poles and several trees, the Athens-Clarke County Police Department said in a news release.

Willock was ejected from the vehicle and died on the scene, and LeCroy died after being taken to a hospital, police said.

“None of the other passengers were ejected,” according to police Lt. Shaun Barnett.

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 UGA, according to her LinkedIn.

Devin Willock plays against the Vanderbilt Commodores at Sanford Stadium on Oct. 15, 2022. (Adam Hagy/Getty Images via CNN)

The two injured passengers in the crash were identified as Georgia offensive lineman Warren McClendon, 21, who received minor injuries, and Victoria Bowles, 26, who had serious injuries, according to police.

McClendon started at right tackle for Georgia this season and declared for the NFL draft earlier Saturday. His father, Warren McClendon Sr., told the Athens Banner-Herald he needed stitches on his forehead but is “doing well.”

University of Georgia offensive lineman Warren McClendon was one of the two passengers injured in a fatal crash that killed fellow player Devin Willock and staff member Chandler LeCroy, according to Athens-Clarke police. (University of Georgia Athletics via CNN)

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 Normal Stout, said their nephew was well liked and doing well in school.

“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.”

Devin Willock (C) is see with his mom Sharlene, his dad Dave, and friends after the National Championship last Monday night. (Via CNN)

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.

What the crash scene looked like

The crash occurred just beyond a curved section of Barnett Shoals Road, where the speed limit is 40 mph. There is no barrier on the outer edge of the road.

The car went off road and snapped two power poles, continued downhill over a knoll and hit several trees and branches before coming to rest at the edge of the apartment complex.

Photos of the crash site taken by nearby residents show a wooden power pole snapped in half and the car’s frame crumpled against an apartment building in Shoals Creek, about two miles from UGA’s 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.

Photos taken by residents who live near the crash site show the car crashed outside an apartment building and a broken power pole. (Courstesy: Ceciley Pangburn via CNN)

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 car smashed into his neighbor’s house, he said.

D’Souza said he ran toward the car 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.

The investigation into the crash is ongoing, police said. Investigators have asked anyone with information to contact authorities.

UGA community remembers fallen teammates

The two UGA team members were remembered by several university leaders as vibrant and valued presences in 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 said in a statement Sunday. “Chandler was a valuable member of our football staff and brought an incredible attitude and energy every single day.”

“These two special people meant the world to our football program and athletic department,” UGA athletics director Josh Brooks said 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 spent Saturday with fans, soaking in 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 starstruck 7-year-old Camdyn Gonzales after the young fan spotted Willock as he was leaving the Texas Roadhouse restaurant in Athens on Saturday.

The player gave Camdyn a fist bump and let the boy try on his enormous 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, said, adding that Willock seemed “so full of life and just happy.”

Daniel Dewitt, a local UGA fan, attended Saturday’s victory parade and told CNN that Willock was “upbeat and happy” as the team passed throngs of supporters draped in red 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 said.

Dewitt told CNN he has a 2021 UGA championship tattoo and plans to get a matching one for this season’s victory. This time, he said, it will feature Willock’s number, 77.

The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2023 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

National News

U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) leaves her office at the Longworth House Office Building on February 02...
Kevin Freking and Lisa Mascaro

House GOP votes to oust Democrat Omar from major committee

House Republicans have voted to oust Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar from the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
14 hours ago
U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast at the U.S. Capitol on F...
Colleen Long and Chris Megerian, Associated Press

Biden urges unity at prayer breakfast under new management

President Joe Biden attended the annual National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday in Washington and delivered a message of unity.
14 hours ago
FILE: Groundhog handler AJ Derume holds Punxsutawney Phil, who saw his shadow, predicting a late sp...
Associated Press

Phil’s Groundhog Day prediction: 6 more weeks of winter

A furry critter in a western Pennsylvania town has predicted six more weeks of winter during an annual Groundhog Day celebration.
14 hours ago
Law enforcement officers aim their weapons at a home during a standoff in Grants Pass, Ore., on Tue...
Associated Press

Oregon kidnapping suspect dies of self-inflicted gunshot

The suspect in a violent kidnapping in Oregon has died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
2 days ago
Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell speaks during a news conference after a Federal Open M...
Christopher Rugaber, AP Economics Writer

Fed lifts rate by quarter-point and signals more hikes ahead

The Federal Reserve extended its fight against high inflation Wednesday by raising its key interest rate by a quarter-point, its eighth hike since March.
2 days ago
Six-year-old Mason Stonehouse was playing on his dad’s phone before bedtime and spent about $1,00...

Michigan six-year-old orders $1,000 worth of food on Grubhub

A six-year-old as playing on his dad's phone before bedtime and spent about $1,000 on Grubhub orders.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

vintage photo of lighting showroom featuring chandeliers, lamps, wall lights and mirrors...
Lighting Design

History of Lighting Design | Over 25 Years of Providing Utah With the Latest Trends and Styles

Read about the history of Lighting Design, a family-owned and operated business that paved the way for the lighting industry in Utah.
Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 Reasons You May Want to Consider Apartment Life Over Owning a Home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Injured passengers identified in car crash that killed UGA football player, staffer