Willey said he and the Willock family met with the Athens-Clarke Police Department and the Clarke County Sheriff’s Office Thursday morning to review their progress and receive an update on the investigation. He asked people with “relevant” information to contact investigative authorities or his law firm, Go Big Injury Lawyers, adding that they will release information if it is “verified, available and appropriate.”
“We are here today to ask that you allow these two families to grieve and grieve in peace,” Willey said.
Sharlene Willock, Devin Willock’s mother, told 11Alive on Thursday that she has hired a lawyer but is not planning any legal action at this time.
Meanwhile, the university said little about the early morning accident, in which Chandler LeCroy, a recruiting analyst for the UGA athletics department, was driving the vehicle at 2:45 a.m. Sunday when it veered off the road and hit a series of power poles and trees. . LeCroy, 24, was also killed in the accident.
Devin Willock, of New Milford, New Jersey, was a redshirt second-year offensive lineman for the Bulldogs. He was in the back seat of the rented 2021 Ford Expedition. Teammate Warren McClendon and another member of Georgia’s football recruiting department were also in the vehicle. The family is in Gainesville as they prepare for the funeral.
Tory Bowles, a back seat passenger who also works at the recruit, is still being treated for “serious injuries”, police said. McClendon sustained minor injuries and was treated and released from Piedmont Athens Regional Hospital on Sunday.
HOW THE ATHENS Crash unfolded
According to the preliminary crash report, the Ford Expedition driven by Chandler Louise LeCroy was traveling south on Barnett Shoals Road in the early hours of Sunday when it failed to curve to the left and jumped the curb. 1
The front passenger side of the vehicle then struck two power poles 2 & 3, cut them in half. The vehicle hit a tree 4 with its rear passenger side, causing it to spin clockwise before hitting another tree 5 with its front driver’s side.
The force of those blows caused the vehicle to spin counterclockwise before hitting a parked vehicle 6 and the front door of a corner apartment. 7
SOURCE: Crash report, Google Earth
CREDIT: Pete Corson, ArLuther Lee, and Charles Minshew / The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
The AJC sent a list of questions about the accident to Georgia athletic director Josh Brooks on Wednesday. UGA responded with the following statement:
“Our primary focus remains to provide comfort and support to the families and friends of Devin, Chandler and the two others who were injured, as well as everyone affected by this tragedy. Out of respect for the individuals and their families, we will not comment further on the accident or the ongoing investigation at this time.”
The car LeCroy was driving was rented from Enterprise Rent-A-Car to transport recruits around campus, according to a person with knowledge of Georgia recruiting. It remains unknown if LeCroy was authorized to drive the vehicle at that time of night or if the trip they took was approved by someone at UGA.
“I focus on my son, focus on my heart,” said Dave Willock. “We’re planning (Devin’s) departure and stuff. I do all that. That’s what I’m working on. I’m not into that.”
Confusion over potential legal action by the family began late Wednesday afternoon, when Willey’s firm said Devin Willock’s family would be at a 2 p.m. press conference on Thursday to discuss the accident and legal action to be taken. When contacted by the AJC about the apparent discrepancy in the family’s attendance, Brian Stellwag, who handles media relations for the company, said the Willock family’s lawyer would appear at a press conference, which had been postponed for an hour. When Willey finally appeared, he declined to answer questions in response to his statements and did not discuss taking legal action.
Asked about Thursday morning’s press conference, Dave Willock said he had no intention of attending.
“I’m here; my son passed away; I’m emotional and dealing with pain,” he said. “I don’t know about that. I haven’t spoken to anyone yet.”
For the Willocks, the accident was a horrific repeat of what happened to another son 13 years ago. Jonathan Wheatley, Devin’s half-brother, was a passenger in a car returning to New Jersey after a night out in New York City with three friends on Sept. 5, 2009, according to a story written by NorthJersey.com. The car they were traveling in was hit by another vehicle. Wheatley was thrown from the vehicle and died on the spot. He was also 20 years old.
Police said Devin Willock died at the scene on Sunday after being thrown from the vehicle.
“Same way, same way, all the same,” said 58-year-old Dave Willock, who immigrated to the US from Antigua 39 years ago. ‘Until the early hours, accident, four people in the car, female driver, everything the same except the type of car. Same age, everything. They looked exactly alike, he also played football. Everything.”
Interviewed neighbors at the townhouse on Barnett Shoals Road in Athens told the AJC they heard a loud bang and a flash of light as the power poles sputtered and sparked. Shortly after, they said they heard someone screaming to call 911.
“I heard screaming and the walls and ceilings were shaking,” said Jordan Williams, who said he saw the scene from his window. “At first I really thought it was a tornado.”
Clarke County coroner Sonny Wilson said routine toxicology tests were performed on LeCroy. This is protocol when a driver dies in an accident, Wilson said. Those toxicological findings are expected to take several weeks.
Autopsies were not performed on Willock or LeCroy, Wilson said.
Asked how they process the tragedies, Dave Willock said, “It’s hard, you know. I cry a lot. It makes me think, ‘Why? Why is this happening?’ I just do not know. You just take it one day at a time and it starts to fade.
The Willocks have another child. David Jr. is 23.
Dave Willock said a funeral will be held for his son at the University of Georgia chapel at 11:30 am Saturday. An official announcement has not been made.