ATHENS, Ga. — Sunday will mark two weeks since a crash in Athens claimed the lives of University of Georgia football player Devin Willock and recruiting analyst Chandler LeCroy.
The UGA Athletic Association released a new statement Friday night acknowledging that the car, driven by LeCroy, should not have been in use at the time of the crash. UGA also said it's cooperating with investigators.
They were in a 2021 Ford Expedition when it hit a curb, left the roadway, and hit a power pole. Two other people, former UGA offensive lineman Warren McClendon and staffer Tori Bowles, were injured but survived.
11Alive spoke to a prominent Atlanta-area trial lawyer, who believes the university is trying to show it's not negligent through the most-recent statement.
The community is still grieving almost two weeks after a car crash took the lives Willock and LeCroy.
“We're talking about an unspeakable tragedy," attorney Tom Church said. "Two young people that passed way beyond before their time."
That tragedy happened in the early morning hours of Sunday, Jan. 15, just hours after the team celebrated its second straight national championship at a parade in Athens.
UGA said in the new statement the car driven by LeCroy was leased by the athletic department, only to be used for recruiting activities, and was supposed to be turned in immediately after an activity wrapped up.
“I think that what Georgia is saying is 'we've investigated this on our end. There were policies violated. This vehicle shouldn't have been in use at the time, not for this purpose,'" Church said.
The statement also indicates personal use was "strictly prohibited," so the vehicle was not supposed to be in use when it crashed.
“The University of Georgia is just distancing itself from any potential liability that they could face as a result of this tragedy," Church said. "It’s kind of their way of washing their hands of it.”
Church said there's still many unanswered questions in the investigation.
“We still need more investigation into the facts," Church said. "There's a toxicology report that hasn't been issued yet. We need to know kind of what happened that led up to this wreck.”
Willock's family has already said they don't have plans for a lawsuit.
“UGA’s role in this might be irrelevant, because either the crash happened because of negligence, or it didn't. Whether the car was authorized to be used or not is less relevant to that inquiry. Unless there was something wrong with the car, then UGA could definitely be on the hook for liability," Church said.
Church believes other schools, especially those with rather robust athletic programs, are going to take notice of UGA's most-recent statement and make sure their rules are crystal clear concerning the use of university equipment.