ATHENS, Ga. — In a new statement released by the University of Georgia Athletic Association, the school acknowledged that the car involved in the crash that killed football player Devin Willock and Chandler LeCroy was not authorized to be in use by the recruiting staff member at the time of the crash.
According to the school, the car driven the night of the crash -- a 2021 Ford Expedition -- was one that the athletic department leased and was available to be used by staff members during "recruiting activities only." The school said that personal use of the vehicle was "strictly prohibited."
In the new statement, the school went on to say that due to specific guidelines that ban staff members from using the rental cars outside of athletic department activities, "the continued use of the leased car by our staff members after their recruiting duties ended earlier that evening was unauthorized."
"Policies and expectations that were well understood by athletics staff dictated that such rental vehicles were to be turned in at the immediate conclusion of recruiting duties," the school said in a statement released to 11Alive on Friday.
UGA has already said that LeCroy was not working in an official capacity at the time of the crash.
Willock and LeCroy were killed early in the morning of Sunday, Jan. 15, just hours after revelers descended on Athens Saturday after to celebrate the school's second-straight National Championship title.
According to officials, the crash happened after the car "failed to navigate a left curve" and the front passenger tire of the car hit a curb, left the roadway and hit a power pole.
Police said that speed was a factor in the crash off Barnett Shoals Road, roughly four miles south of Sanford Stadium.
LeCroy, 24, was driving the car. The crash report lays out that Willock, 20, was sitting behind her and not wearing a seatbelt.
Former UGA offensive lineman Warren McClendon was also also in the car and suffered a laceration to the head but was otherwise unharmed. Another staffer, 26-year-old Tori Bowles, was seriously injured.
On Jan. 18, Athens-Clarke County Police told 11Alive there was no obvious signs of alcohol at the scene of the crash. Authorities are still awaiting the toxicology report.
Willock was remembered at a private celebration of life last Saturday in Athens, where coaches, players, staff and school administration showed up to pay their respects. A public celebration of life was held Friday in his home state of New Jersey.
LeCroy's life was honored in Toccoa, Georgia, at an emotional church funeral service on Jan. 18. During the funeral, LeCroy's pastor, David Ritcey, called Chandler a bright light in the lives of all who knew her.
Here is the full statement from the UGA Athletics Association:
“While our review of the circumstances surrounding the tragic accident on January 15 is ongoing, we can now provide clarity on a few points.
The car driven in the accident was one of several vehicles leased by our athletic department for use during recruiting activities only. Policies and expectations that were well understood by athletics staff dictated that such rental vehicles were to be turned in at the immediate conclusion of recruiting duties. Personal use was strictly prohibited. Therefore, the continued use of the leased car by our staff members after their recruiting duties ended earlier that evening was unauthorized.
We are continuing to cooperate fully with investigators. Above all, our thoughts and prayers remain with the families and friends of those we lost and those who were injured in this tragic accident.”