2 Spelman College students killed in wrecks a week apart

Erica Lanier (right) and Princess Yates were killed in separate car crashes this month. The two attended Spelman College. (Credit: Facebook)
Erica Lanier (right) and Princess Yates were killed in separate car crashes this month. The two attended Spelman College. (Credit: Facebook)

The past few weeks have been filled with tragedy for Spelman College.

Officials confirmed Friday that two students, Erica Lanier and Princess Yates, were killed in car crashes in downtown Atlanta and Liberia, respectively.

“Both of the young ladies who passed away were active members of the Spelman community in vibrant and diverse ways,” a post on the Spelman Alumnae page stated. “Please continue to pray for our Spelman sisters, their friends and their families at this difficult time.”

The college released a statement Thursday extending their condolences to the students' families.

Lanier was killed Wednesday in a suspected DUI crash involving fellow student Alexis Sims, according to an Atlanta police crash report obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Sims was driving her 2009 Honda Civic on Marietta Street when police said she lost control of the car, left the road and crashed into a utility pole and a fence.

Lanier, who was in the front passenger seat, died at the scene.

Sims was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries and was later found to have alcohol in her system during the crash, according to the report. She faces vehicular homicide, DUI and failure to maintain lane charges.

Lanier, a rising senior, was a member of Morehouse College’s dance team Mahogany-N-Motion and was heavily involved in her community, including her elementary school Greenforest-McCalep Christian Academy.

Lanier’s kindergarten teacher, Rhonda Hicks, remembered her as a “sweetheart” and “very enthusiastic.”

“She encompassed so many beautiful things,” Hicks told Channel 2 Action News. “She was beautiful on the inside and outside.”

Few details were released about Yates’ crash, which occurred last week in Monrovia, Liberia. School officials said Yates was a member of the class of 2019 and was an environmental science and dual degree engineering major.

Yates, originally from Staten Island, New York, was an active member of the city’s NAACP Youth Council.

“Princess was not only an asset to our council, but one of the sweetest, funniest individuals we have ever had the pleasure to work with,” the organization said in a statement. “Her charisma, willingness to help and passion for this council made her a key element in our rebranding and our continued success. We love and miss her. We ask you to pray for her family during this time.”

The victim's friend has been charged with DUI and vehicular homicide.