Officers investigate the scene of a single vehicle wreck on Webster Road just north of Quitman Tuesday morning. The wreck claimed the lives of three Brooks County football players; Jicarre Watkins, Johnny Parker and Shawn Waters. A fourth occupant, De'Vron Whitfield, also a Brooks football player was life-flighted to Shands Hospital.
Photo: Brandon Powers / The Valdosta Daily Times
Photo: Brandon Powers / The Valdosta Daily Times

Ga. State Patrol: Driver error, speed factored into football players’ fatal wreck

Driver error and speed were factors in a single-vehicle wreck on July 9 that killed three south Georgia high school football players and injured a fourth, a Georgia State Patrol official said Thursday.

Rising Brooks County High School senior and linebacker Jicarre Watkins was driving teammates Shawn Waters, Johnie Parker and De’Vron Whitfield from morning football practice when his SUV careened off Webster Road, rolled and slammed into a pecan tree in an area of Brooks County, 20 miles west of Valdosta.

Whitfield, who was ejected from the vehicle, was the only survivor.

Investigators concluded that Watkins, for unknown reasons, drove about a foot off the roadway and then tried to regain control, causing the SUV to run into a ditch and roll over before striking the tree, Taylor said.

The SUV was traveling about 70 mph, above the posted 55-mph speed limit at the time of the crash, he said.

Alcohol or drug use is not suspected, but tests for those are pending, Taylor said.

Here’s an earlier story on the accident on

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.