Devin Willock’s dad questions communication following fatal crash

Dave Willock said police, UGA officials have been silent; he’s relying on AJC for information on son’s death
Devin Willock (center) with his parents, Dave and Sharlene Willock.

Devin Willock (center) with his parents, Dave and Sharlene Willock.

ATHENS – Dave Willock finally got up the nerve to visit the crash site. Last Saturday, the father of Georgia football player Devin Willock went by himself to the apartment complex on Barnett Shoals Road where his son took his last breath.

He didn’t like what he saw. He also hasn’t liked what he has heard and read the last few days.

Dave Willock said he and his wife had not been told about vehicles racing at speeds of more than 100 miles per hour after leaving a strip club until he read it in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Willock said neither the University of Georgia nor the Athens-Clarke County Police have shared any of the details about the alcohol-related crash that took the life of Devin Willock and UGA recruiting staffer Chandler LeCroy at approximately 2:45 a.m. on Jan. 15. They still haven’t.

“Excess speeding, and that’s all,” Willock said of what he had been told before police released a public statement this week. “I had no knowledge of nothing else. It was just a situation of wondering what happened. But, it just shocked me to know that this was drag racing, you know, and drunken driving. I was really shocked to hear that.”

Willock said he and his wife, Sharlene, have been disappointed with the lack of communication they encountered with university officials and Athens police since their 20-year-old son was laid to rest on Jan. 27. Willock, a third-year offensive lineman from New Millford, N.J., and LeCroy, 24, both died in the crash that occurred in the early morning hours after the Bulldogs’ national championship celebration in Athens. LeCroy, the driver, had a blood alcohol level of more than twice the legal limit at the time of the crash according to the GBI’s toxicology report.

The police obtained warrants for Georgia star Jalen Carter’s arrest after the AJC reported on Wednesday that he had left the scene of the Jan. 15 accident.

The warrant and statements by police revealed Carter was also driving at a high rate of speed in another vehicle in close proximity to the Athletic Association rented Ford Expedition in which LeCroy, Willock, junior football player Warren McClendon and 26-year-old recruiting staffer Tory Bowles were riding in that night.

Police said their investigation revealed that the Ford Expedition LeCroy was driving was traveling 104 miles per hour shortly before the accident. The toxicology report revealed that LeCroy’s blood alcohol content was .197.

Police now have charged Carter, who was driving a 2021 Jeep Trackhawk that night, with racing and reckless driving. Documents reviewed by the AJC revealed that police believe that damage on the roof of Carter’s vehicle indicated that he had to be very close to the Expedition when it left the roadway, took out two utility polls and hit several trees before striking the corner of apartment 1310 in the Shoal Creek complex.

Police evidence, including from traffic and security cameras along the route from downtown Athens to the crash site, showed that both vehicles switched between lanes, drove in the center turn lane, drove in opposite lanes of travel, overtook other motorists, and drove “at a high rate of speed in an apparent effort to outdistance the other.”

A memorial is set up for University of Georgia football player Devin Willock and UGA football team staff member Chandler LeCroy at the site where their vehicle crashed on Barnett Shoals Rd, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2023, in Athens, Ga.. Willock and LeCroy died from their injures caused from the Sunday morning accident, Jan. 15, 2023. Two other passengers were injured. Jason Getz /

Credit: Jason Getz /

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Credit: Jason Getz /

Carter has retained Athens defense attorney Kim Stephens.

All this was news to Willock’s parents. Dave Willock said neither UGA nor Athens-Clarke County police have been communicating with them or providing updates on their investigations. Everything they have learned has been from AJC news accounts.

“Everybody (has been) just lips sealed,” said Willock, a first-generation immigrant from Antigua who is currently staying with friends in Miami. “It’s sad to know that people, other teammates, was there when all this happened and no one said nothing (to us). I just think it’s unfair. … If it wasn’t for (news reports) we would never know nothing.”

A statement provided to the AJC by the Athens-Clarke County police read: “ACCPD has maintained an open line of communication with the parents of Devin Willock.” UGA officials did not respond for a request for comment. Will Fleenor, the Athens-Clarke County solicitor general, who is prosecuting Carter, did not respond to a message seeking comment.

Dave Willock said they hadn’t gotten any information about the crash from McClendon, who was Devin’s roommate.

“He was in the front seat of the car and he knows nothing?” Willock said incredulously about McClendon’s public statements that he “blacked out” and couldn’t remember anything. “It’s not fair. … No one is telling the truth. If it was Devin, Devin would tell the truth. That’s the way I raised him.”

McClendon was the only occupant of the totaled vehicle to walk away. Wearing his seatbelt while riding in the front passenger seat, he suffered only a cut to his forehead and was treated and released that night from Piedmont Athens Regional Hospital. McClendon is working out at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis as he prepares for the draft. He is scheduled to speak to the media Saturday morning.

Bowles, continues to recover from what a search warrant describes as multiple rib and spinal fractures. Family members and UGA officials have declined to discuss the extent of her injuries.

Dave Willock said he and his wife have hired legal counsel. They have retained William Stiles, a wrongful death attorney and motor safety specialist from Atlanta who operates a law firm called Stiles for Life. Willock reiterated that they are not working with the Big Injury Lawyers law firm that was representing their son in an Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) deal brokered not long before the accident.

Yes, Willock said, they are contemplating legal action.

As for that recent trip to the crash site, Willock said he had contemplated visiting it many times, but just couldn’t bring himself to do it. He is hurting too much. He’s too mad.

The Willocks -- who lost an older son to a similar accident 13½ years ago in New Jersey, have spent much of the last six weeks staying with his brother in Gainesville. So, he has come to Athens several times and driven by the site.

Finally, this past Saturday, he stopped.

“I had to go there, because I was puzzled by everything,” Dave Willock said. “I had to take a look to see exactly (what happened). I was there about 45 minutes, walking back and forth, looking at everything myself.”

Georgia offensive lineman from left to right; Warren McClendon, Tate Ratledge, Devin Willock pose for a photograph during Georgia’s media day at the Los Angeles Convention Center, Sat., Jan. 7, 2023, in Los Angeles, Ca. Georgia plays TCU for the 2023 College Football Playoff National Championship Mon. Jan. 9, 2023, at SoFi Stadium.  (Jason Getz /

Credit: Jason Getz /

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Credit: Jason Getz /