Georgia athletic department launches review of crash that killed Devin Willock, Chandler LeCroy


Georgia’s athletic department has launched an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the fatal car crash that claimed the lives of football player Devin Willock and recruiting coordinator Chandler LeCroy, AD Josh Brooks announced Tuesday. 

Department officials stressed that the January 15 crash occurred on personal time, and was not related to department business. 

The tragedy has marred the Bulldogs’ second consecutive national title, which the school won earlier this month with a win over TCU. The fatal wreck also left offensive lineman Warren McClendon with minor injuries and seriously injured another member of the recruiting staff.

Lingering questions remain about the relationship between athletes and department staffers following the incident, which occurred in the early morning hours of January 15 near the school’s Athens campus.

The Athens-Clarke County Police Department said 20-year-old Devin Willock died in a single-vehicle crash on Barnett Shoals Road around 2:45am on January 15. The driver, Chandler LeCroy, 24, who worked for the team as a staff member, was taken to the hospital where she also died as a result of her injuries

The University of Georgia's athletic department has launched an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the fatal car crash that claimed the lives of football player Devin Willock and recruiting coordinator Chandler LeCroy (pictured), AD Josh Brooks said Tuesday

The University of Georgia’s athletic department has launched an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the fatal car crash that claimed the lives of football player Devin Willock and recruiting coordinator Chandler LeCroy (pictured), AD Josh Brooks said Tuesday

‘Out of respect for the families involved, we have refrained from making any public statements up to this point regarding the circumstances of the tragic accident that claimed two lives and injured two members of our campus community,’ Brooks said in a statement.

‘However, we want the public to know that the athletic department is conducting a thorough review, in coordination with appropriate legal counsel, to fully understand the circumstances surrounding this tragic event. We want to emphasize that these individuals were not engaged in athletic department duties around the time of this incident.’

An SUV driven by 24-year-old Chandler LeCroy, who worked in the recruiting department, left the road on a turn, sliced through a pair of utility poles, struck two trees and finally came to rest against an apartment building.

The 20-year-old Willock was ejected from the vehicle and pronounced dead the scene. LeCroy died a short time later after being taken to a nearby hospital.

McClendon, who had announced hours earlier he was entering the NFL draft, received a laceration to the middle of his head. The other university employee, Victoria Bowles, survived with serious injuries.

Earlier this month, Willock and Georgia beat TCU 65-7 for the school's second straight title

Earlier this month, Willock and Georgia beat TCU 65-7 for the school’s second straight title

LeCroy was driving the vehicle, lost control of it and struck utility poles and cars, police say

LeCroy was driving the vehicle, lost control of it and struck utility poles and cars, police say 

The crash occurred after a parade through Athens and celebration at Sanford stadium to honor Georgia’s 65-7 rout of TCU in the national championship game.

The police report listed EAN Holding as the owner of the 2021 Ford Explorer, which is the official name for the rental vehicle company that does business as Enterprise.

It was not clear who had rented the vehicle, though it is similar to those used by the university for recruiting visits.

Excessive speed on a road with a 40 mph limit was listed as a cause of the crash, along with other, unspecified factors. Police said they were still investigating.

Willock and some of his teammates were pictured leaving an Athens strip club just minutes before the fatal crash.

Images from the Athens-Clarke County Police showed Willock and McLendon leaving Toppers International Showbar around 2:30am, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Also pictured with them were, ‘two women who strongly resemble the UGA employees involved in the fatal crash,’ the paper reported. 

The picture was taken just hours after the Bulldogs wrapped up a victory parade.  

This image provided by police show Georgia staff and football players leaving a strip club

This image provided by police show Georgia staff and football players leaving a strip club

Brooks said the university was cooperating with police and would also review its policies to determine if any changes should be made in the wake of the incident. He said football coach Kirby Smart was part of those discussions.

‘Our review is preliminary at this time, and the athletic department is fully cooperating with law enforcement officials to determine all the facts surrounding this tragedy,’ Brooks said. ‘Coach Smart and I are also actively reviewing relevant football policies, and at the conclusion of that review, we will take steps to implement any improvements in our policies and procedures that may be needed.’

As for McClendon, the offensive lineman will wear Willock’s number in the Senior Bowl.

McClendon, who gave up his college eligibility to enter the NFL draft, accepted an invitation this week to play in the February 4 all-star game in Mobile, Alabama.

Senior Bowl executive director Jim Nagy wrote on Twitter that McClendon will wear No. 77 in Willock’s honor after donning No. 70 during his three years as a Georgia starter.