CORDELE, Ga -- Former UGA track star Torrin Lawrence was killed in an early morning wreck on I-75.
Crisp County Sheriff Bill Hancock told 11Alive's Julie Wolfe Lawrence's car blew a tire. "Evidence indicates he lost control of the car and stopped in the center lane of southbound traffic," Hancock said. The car was stranded on a stretch of the interstate just over a crest, and difficult to see for oncoming traffic.
Lawrence called 911 for help, and a Crisp County deputy was on his way when a tractor trailer slammed into Lawrence's car. Hancock said it's possible Lawrence was not inside the car at 1:47 a.m. when the collision occurred.
Lawrence was a seven time all-American at the University of Georgia. Just this May, Lawrence earned a gold medal as a member of the U.S.'s 4 x 400 relay team.
The University of Georgia sent a release Monday morning including comments from Lawrence's former coach:
"In speaking for the UGA track and field community, I am shocked and pained with news of Torrin's death," said Bulldog head coach Wayne Norton. "First, my prayers for comfort are for Torrin's mother and family. Second, this makes me reflect on Torrin and remember him as one of the greatest talents I have ever seen in our sport and as gentle man.
"Whenever our precious young people die, it's a tragedy which is not be easy for many of us to get over. Torrin was an easy person to get along with and almost always improved the atmosphere wherever he went. He did some great things in track and for UGA, and in fact, made history at UGA by winning an individual men's NCAA championship in a running event. Torrin was one of the world's greatest indoor 300/400 runners when you look at his accomplishments.
"With all of that said, one of the first memories that came to my mind after getting the news from one of my coaches was one from away from the track when Torrin was attending the church where I was and he was baptized after one of the services. I thank God for Torrin Lawrence. I pray for all of his classmates, teammates and coaches who are grieving and trying to understand why we lost one of the good guys."
The release also included comments from the USA Track & Field coach: "We were devastated to learn of Torrin's passing early this morning," said USA Track & Field CEO Max Siegel. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends and everyone who knew him. Torrin represented USATF with pride and passion, and had an incredible future ahead of him. We join those who will miss him deeply."