Five Georgia Southern University nursing students were killed in a devastating crash. According to reports, the five students were traveling in separate vehicles, which were both struck by a tractor-trailer. Although the truck driver was not yet cited, authorities confirmed the accident was not weather related.
As reported by Statesboro Herald, the crash occurred at approximately 5:45 a.m. Wednesday.
A representative with St. Joseph’s/Candler Health System said the students were on their way to Savannah’s St. Joseph’s Hospital “for their last day of clinical training of the school year.”
Georgia State Patrol Sergeant Chris Nease confirmed the students’ vehicles were stuck in stop-and-go traffic. According to witness reports, the tractor-trailer failed to slow down while approaching the traffic jam.
As a result, the tractor-trailer struck an SUV, rolled over a small car, and eventually came to rest against a tanker truck.
As reported by WFMY News, the accident started a chain-reaction, which included a total of seven vehicles. In addition to the nursing students killed in the crash, three others sustained non-life-threatening injuries.
— CBS46 (@cbs46) April 22, 2015
In an official statement, Georgia Southern University confirmed Caitlyn Baggett, Morgan Bass, Emily Clark, Gabbie Deloach, and Catherine (McKay) Pittman were killed in the accident.
Brittney McDaniel and Megan Richards are currently being treated for injuries sustained in the crash. However, their current condition is unknown.
On behalf of the entire university, Georgia Southern President Brooks Keel expressed sympathy to the family and friends of the nursing students killed in the crash.
“The loss of any student, especially in a tragic way, is particularly painful. Losing five students is almost incomprehensible. Our hearts go out to the families, friends and classmates of these students.”
Georgia Southern University is currently planning a memorial service and will fly flags at half-staff through the remainder of the week.
— Davincii Williams (@Davincii_lee) April 23, 2015
President Brooks urges those touched by the tragedy to contact the university Counseling Center for support.
Authorities are still trying to determine what caused the devastating crash. Georgia State Patrol Sergeant Chris Rodewolt said traffic was backed up on the highway. However, the weather was mild and visibility was not obscured by “fog or smoke.”
As the entire community is mourning the nursing students killed in the crash, Statesboro Mayor Jan Moore said the city will join the university in flying their flags at half-staff.