Karissa Grace Tatum, of LaFayette, died after crashing her car while leaving Savannah State University, after being forced to evacuate campus Sunday because of Hurricane Dorian.
Photo: Savannah State University
Photo: Savannah State University

College student killed fleeing Dorian lived out her dreams

The funeral for Savannah State University volleyball player Karissa Grace Tatum is Wednesday

She had two dreams, and Karissa Grace Tatum fulfilled them both long before her 21st birthday. Tatum wanted to live in Savannah and play college volleyball. She did both. 

“God blessed her in allowing those dreams to be fulfilled,” her online obituary states

A junior volleyball player at Savannah State University, where she was studying journalism, Tatum died Sept. 4, three days after crashing her Kia Optima on I-16. She was leaving Savannah ahead of Hurricane Dorian. 

Her funeral is Wednesday.

RELATED: College volleyball player killed in crash while evacuating ahead of Dorian


Georgia State Patrol investigators believe Tatum may have been driving too fast when she lost control of her car, left the roadway and hit a tree shortly before 6 p.m Sept. 1. Two classmates, including a fellow volleyball team member, were passengers. Neither passenger was seriously injured and all three in the car were wearing seat belts at the time of the crash, authorities said. 

Tatum, who turned 21 less than two weeks before she died, was from LaFayette, the seat of Walker County in northwest Georgia. She had a standout athletic career at LaFayette High School and Savannah State heralded her 2017 arrival with this social media tribute:

Hours after learning of Tatum’s death, members of her former high school team honored her memory by wearing ribbons in orange and blue ribbons, Savannah State’s colors, and wrote Tatum’s initials and number on their legs. The team bested Calhoun in a pair of matches during the emotional night, the Walker County Messenger reported.

Savannah State has mourned the loss of “KG,” as she was known, with public shows of support on campus.

“Karissa was a kind, caring and compassionate soul,” her obituary reads. “She loved deeply and fought fiercely for what she believed in. Anyone who had the honor of knowing her was left with a small piece of her. She was private but gave of herself freely to anyone who needed it.”

Tatum is survived by her parents, three brothers, a sister, three grandparents, her boyfriend and several other relatives. 

The family will receive friends Tuesday at Heritage Funeral Home in Fort Oglethorpe. The funeral will be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday in the funeral home chapel.

Channel 2 Action News is activating our Convoy of Care to help gather donations for Hurricane Dorian victims in the Bahamas.

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