Memorial set for tonight
In a statement, GSU President Dr. Brooks Keel said: The student leadership of the Student Nurses’ Association, Kappa Delta Sorority, Alpha Delta Pi Sorority and Alpha Omicron Pi Sorority invite the Georgia Southern community to Sweetheart Circle for a memorial at 7 tonight, April 23, honoring those students whose lives were lost tragically on April 22, 2015.
Five Georgia Southern University students — all females — were killed in a crash early Wednesday morning on Interstate 16 in North Bryan.
The students, all Georgia residents, were Emily Clark of Powder Springs; Morgan Bass of Leesburg; Abbie Deloach of Savannah; Catherine (McKay) Pittman of Alpharetta; and Caitlyn Baggett of Millen.
Two additional students, Brittney McDaniel of Reidsville and Megan Richards of Loganville, were being treated for injuries, according to Georgia Southern President Dr. Brooks Keel.
“The loss of any student, especially in a tragic way, is particularly painful,” Keel said in a message sent to the university community. “Losing five students is almost incomprehensible.”
The accident in which the women were killed involved seven vehicles and occurred around 5:45 a.m. in the eastbound lanes about a mile west of the Highway 280 exit in Black Creek, when a truck struck vehicles that were stopped because of an earlier accident.
That accident, involving a tanker and an RV, took place shortly before 2 a.m., according to authorities. There were injuries in that crash, which also happened about a half-mile west of the Highway 280 exit, and led to the transport of victim, but the damage to the RV was extensive and cleanup was difficult.
Bryan County Sheriff Clyde Smith said the wreck involving the students was one of the worst he’s ever seen.
“You almost can’t believe it,” said Smith, who has been sheriff since 1994. “You don’t want to see it.”
The crash involved three big rigs, two cars and two pickups, and two people were flown by helicopter to Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah.
Bryan County Emergency Services Director Freddy Howell said BCES crews were dispatched to the second accident at about 5:55 a.m. and found “several vehicles with patients and one that was occupied and fully engulfed (in flames). Two helicopters were dispatched and used to transport two of the patients and the others went by ambulance or (their own vehicle).”
In the first crash, one patient was taken by ambulance to Memorial and others were treated by EMS at the accident site about a half-mile from the Highway 280 exit. BCES crews were dispatched at 1:48 a.m., Howell said.
The Bryan County Sheriff’s Office, Bryan County Emergency Services, Georgia State Patrol and Georgia Department of Transportation worked both crashes, which tied up traffic on I-16 east for hours.
Keel said Georgia Southern University’s flag would fly at half-staff Thursday in memory of the students who died and that campus memorial arrangements were pending.