The University of Georgia has fired the football recruiting staffer who survived a January crash that killed player Devin Willock and another recruiting staffer, less than a month after she filed a lawsuit against the university’s athletic association.
The school issued a statement saying Victoria “Tory” Bowles was dismissed because she refused to cooperate with an internal investigation into the crash. Her attorneys claim she is being retaliated against for filing the lawsuit, which also names former Georgia player and first-round NFL draft pick Jalen Carter.
The Jan. 15 crash, which occurred just hours after a parade celebrating Georgia’s second straight national championship, killed Willock and the driver of the Ford Expedition, Chandler LeCroy. Willock was 20; LeCroy was 24.
Police said LeCroy had a blood alcohol level more than twice the legal limit and was racing Carter at about 104 mph when the SUV swerved off the road and struck two utility poles and a tree before slamming into another tree on the driver’s side, where LeCroy and Willock were sitting.
Another Georgia player, Warren McClendon, sustained only minor injuries. But Bowles, who was sitting in the back seat next to Willock, sustained serious injuries, including lumbar and rib fractures, a spinal cord injury, and lacerations to the kidney and liver, her lawsuit stated. She also sustained a closed head injury with neurological damage and severe eye pain.
The lawsuit, which includes LeCroy’s estate as an additional defendant, requests at least $171,595 in general damages along with punitive damages.
The suit claims the Georgia athletic association entrusted the rented SUV to LeCroy and was aware that she had at least two “super speeder” violations among four speeding tickets before the crash.
The athletic association said staff members were authorized to use rental vehicles for recruiting purposes only. “Under no circumstances were recruiting staff authorized to use rental cars to drive at excessive speeds while intoxicated,” it said in a statement.
Bowles was on paid medical leave for a couple of months after the crash, before the athletic association placed her on unpaid leave in March, according to records obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Rob Buck, an attorney representing Bowles in her lawsuit, said the university has engaged in a “campaign of intimidation” against his client, whose job paid less than $12,000 a year.