Community mourns 3 young men killed in LaGrange car crash

Neighborhood associates in LaGrange came with each other Wednesday night to recall 3 younger guys killed in a car accident in excess of the weekend. A handful of hundred people showed up to Lafayette Sq. for a candlelight prayer vigil honoring the life of 24-12 months-previous Rico Dunn, 18-yr-aged Stephen Bartolotta and 19-yr-outdated Jacob Brown.

“This has been an remarkable loss in our group,” LaGrange Mayor Jim Thornton claimed.

The 3 ended up killed in a crash on Ga 109 around Paddle Wheel Push Saturday night time when Brown’s car or truck struck Dunn’s truck head-on, investigators said. Brown and Bartolotta, who performed on the LaGrange College or university baseball group, had been headed home from a earn at the United states of america South Event.

“We’ve knowledgeable as a group a large loss of 3 stunning younger lives with Rico and Jacob and Stephen, and we desired to occur jointly as a neighborhood and bear in mind them,” LaGrange College President Susanna Baxter explained. 

The function was place on by Self-assurance Missionary Baptist Church in partnership with LaGrange Higher education. Organizers mentioned the target was to convey the group with each other in its grief. Dunn’s siblings stated they are nevertheless striving to process the loss.

“It however does not feel genuine you know…it hasn’t set in,” Nicholos Ligon mentioned. 

His sister Alexis Gunn assist they are grateful they are not going by means of it on your own as many in the community came out to clearly show their help.

“It is just…my coronary heart is entire,” she mentioned.

It was an function Pastor Michael Jackson of Self-assurance Missionary Baptist Church said was wanted. The concept from local community leaders was even though the tragedy might not make perception, the only way via it is collectively.

“Prayer brings about therapeutic and healing only occurs in time…it speaks volumes of us as a group coming together in times of tragedy,” he explained.

The celebration ended with a balloon launch as local community users reported the names of Rico, Stephen, and Jacob. Organizers mentioned they hope the community will continue to lean on a person an additional via the decline.

LaGrange Faculty, which is presently ranked No. 4 in the nation in Division III and is 37-6, had not decided if they will be continuing with a scheduled event just after the tragedy.

LaGrange Faculty baseball gamers, 24-yr-aged killed in Troup County crash

The crash took place around 9:15 p.m. on May well 24 alongside Roanoke Road and Paddle Wheel Push. The Ga Point out Patrol claimed 3 autos were being associated. Troopers said a silver 2015 Honda Accord passed a gray 2019 Honda Accord in a no passing zone placing a 2008 GMC Sierra head-on. The crash brought on the Sierra to overturn into the median. 

Troopers reported each occupants in the silver Accord had been pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the Sierra was taken by helicopter to Piedmont Columbus Regional hospital where he later on died, troopers stated.

No one in the gray accord was injured, but particles from the crash prompted problems to the motor vehicle, trooper reported.

The Georgia Point out Patrol’s specialised crash reconstruction crew is investigating the accident.

Stephen Bartolotta (LaGrange University)

Who is Stephen Bartolotta?

Stephen Bartolotta arrived to LaGrange College from Palm Town, Florida. The 18-calendar year-outdated performed baseball at Martin County Higher University for 3 decades below head mentor Brett Hawkins. He referred to as Bartolotta a person of the hardest personnel.

“From the day I met Stevie, he always had a smile on his deal with and possibly 1 of the best 5 kids as considerably as operate ethic goes I’ve at any time experienced in 20 years of coaching,” Hawkins informed TCPalm. “He was normally upbeat, and was really a excellent kid. He was one particular of those young children where you want had 15 of them on your team. When he bought into a recreation, he was a bulldog. He wasn’t the largest kid, he was not the strongest child and he was not the swiftest child, but when you handed him the baseball, he’d say, ‘Coach, I got you.'”

Bartolotta was at first recruited to LaGrange University to engage in infielder, but he convinced the coaches of his skills on the mound.

“Stevie just loved life and he cherished the match of baseball,” Hawkins mentioned. “The boys are accomplishing alright, it’s strike a great deal of the boys that he played with and graduated with final yr tough. I’ve heard from a large amount of former gamers, reaching out to me. We just crafted our hitting facility, roofing and all the things in our cage spot at our area and the boys want me to devote it to Stevie so that is in the functions.”

Funeral preparations have not still been produced.

Jacob Brown

Who is Jacob Brown?

Jacob Brown was from Duluth, Georgia. He played baseball at Peachtree Ridge Significant University ahead of attending LaGrange University.

The 19-year-old pitched in the course of the Usa South Match championship acquire around N.C. Wesleyan on Saturday. 

“Our Peachtree Ridge Athletics neighborhood is mourning the reduction of alumni Jacob Brown. A 2021 graduate, Jacob was a pitcher for the Lions who had a wonderful personality and an unmatched enthusiasm for the activity of baseball. He will be missed dearly by all of those at Peachtree Ridge,” Peachtree Ridge Significant College Athletic Director Ryan Lesniak wrote.

Funeral arrangements are remaining handled by Striffler-Hamby Mortuary in LaGrange.

Georgia State Patrol said West Point resident Rico Martinx Dunn died after he was airlifted to Piedmont Columbus Regional Hospital. Dunn's family shared a photo of their loved one with FOX 5 Atlanta.

Ga State Patrol said West Place resident Rico Martinx Dunn died just after he was airlifted to Piedmont Columbus Regional Medical center. Dunn’s family members shared a photograph of their beloved one particular with FOX 5 Atlanta. (Provided by relatives)

Who is Rico Dunn?

Rico Martinx Dunn is described by his loved ones associates as being a single of the most loving and caring males.

The 24-year-old’s brother, Nicholos Legon, said Rico was driving back again from West Stage Lake at the time of the crash. He had put in the working day celebrating their sister’s 28th birthday.

“Rico was a extremely, incredibly, quite, really loving, like you just don’t comprehend how loving a young guy and he really, seriously, definitely enjoyed shelling out time with the children, all his nieces and nephews, getting them out fishing and just showing them character and loving lifetime,” said Legon.

Georgia State Patrol stated the West Issue resident died soon after he was airlifted to Piedmont Columbus Regional Medical center.

Legon reported Dunn’s household expresses their condolences to everybody below at LaGrange College, in particular the two family members of these gamers.

Funeral arrangements are remaining handled by Lakes-Dunson-Robertson Funeral House in La Grange.