Georgia Southern car crash kills 5 students, sends campus into mourning

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Georgia Southern University was in mourning Thursday after five nursing students were killed the day before in an automobile accident near Savannah, according to the school’s website.

“Every one of our students contributes in no small measure to the Eagle Nation,” college President Brooks A. Keel said in a statement on the website. “The loss of any student, especially in a tragic way, is particularly painful. Losing five students is almost incomprehensible.”

Killed were Emily Clark, Morgan Bass, Abbie Deloach, Catherine (McKay) Pittman and Caitlyn Bagget, according to the school website. All were juniors.

Brittney McDaniel and Megan Richards were injured in Wednesday’s crash. All seven women were nursing students and Georgia residents.

The school flew flags at half-staff Thursday, and counseling was offered to students. A campuswide vigil was scheduled for Thursday night.

Police said a tractor-trailer smashed into a line of cars that had slowed down on Interstate 16, according to CNN affiliate WSB-TV in Atlanta. Five cars and two tractor-trailers were involved in the crash, police said.

Georgia native Luke Bryan, a country music star and school alumnus, tweeted his condolences: “Praying for everyone at Georgia Southern and the families who lost loved ones.”

The staff at St. Joseph’s/Candler Hospital in Savannah also mourned the students.

“Today should have been a day of celebration for this bright group of students,” the hospital said in a Facebook posting. “It was their last day of clinical rotations at St. Joseph’s/Candler in their first year of nursing school.

“You could tell that they really loved what they did,” Sherry Danello, the hospital’s vice president of patient care services and chief nursing officer said on the Facebook posting. “They didn’t just go through the task, they really connected to the patients.”

The school has a student body of about 20,000 and is in Statesboro, about 60 miles from Savannah.

On the school’s Twitter page, a tear was added to the profile logo of the Eagle, Georgia Southern’s mascot.


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