American sprinter Torrin Lawrence was killed on Monday morning after his car was struck by a tractor-trailer on a Georgia highway.
Lawrence was driving on Interstate 75 when his car blew out a tire, WALB reports. The 25-year-old waited for authorities to arrive on the scene and provide assistance, but a tractor-trailer struck the vehicle from behind. “Evidence indicates [Lawrence] lost control of the car and stopped in the center lane of southbound traffic,” Crisp County Sheriff Bill Hancock told WXIA.
Authorities confirmed that the tractor-trailer was responsible for Lawrence’s death, but aren’t yet sure where Lawrence was positioned at the time of the accident. The former University of Georgia may have been sitting in his car, but Hancock said that it is possible that the truck had pushed the car into Lawrence after he exited the vehicle.
“We’re not exactly sure where he was in relation to the car,” Hancock said, according to NBC Sports. “He was caught up in the accident.”
Lawrence’s death produced an outpouring of grief from his colleagues within USA Track & Field and the University of Georgia. “We were devastated to learn of Torrin’s passing early this morning,” USA Track & Field CEO Max Siegel said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends and everyone who knew him. Torrin represented USATF with pride and passion, and had an incredible future ahead of him. We join those who will miss him deeply.”
"In speaking for the UGA track and field community, I am shocked and pained with news of Torrin's death,” Wayne Norton, the school’s head coach, said in a statement. “First, my prayers for comfort are for Torrin's mother and family. Second, this makes me reflect on Torrin and remember him as one of the greatest talents I have ever seen in our sport and as gentle man.”
Lawrence had a storied career at Georgia, earning All-American honors on seven occasions as well as three SEC championships. He holds the school’s all-time records in the 200-meter, 400-meter and 4x400 relay events, as well as the NCAA record in the 300-meter.
After his graduation in 2013, Lawrence became a member of the United States track and field team. He won a gold medal in May when Team USA won the 4x400 relay event at the IAAF World Relays.