WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (WJHL/WAVY) — A college athlete was killed and four others were taken to the hospital after they were hit by what investigators say was a drunken driver Thursday in Williamsburg.
The driver has been charged with DUI maiming and felony hit-and-run, police say.
Milligan University, which is located in Tennessee, says 20-year-old sophomore Eli Cramer, of the university’s men’s cross country/track and field team, succumbed to his injuries.
The other members of the team injured in the crash were taken to the hospital for serious, but not life-threatening injuries, police said.
The university said that seniors Alex Mortimer from Lexington, Kentucky, and Eli Baldy from Knoxville, Tennessee, were among the injured. As of Thursday night, Mortimer was undergoing treatment, and Baldy had been treated and released.
In a later update, the university shared a video of Mortimer from the hospital giving an update on his condition.
“Do not, do not forsake or discount the beauty and the gift of life. It is like a vapor and it flashes before our eyes,” said Mortimer.
Virginia State Police said the crash happened on Williamsburg Pottery Road near the Lightfoot Road intersection around 6 p.m.
The driver, later identified as 26-year-old Jose Efrain Hernandez Mancia, fled the scene of the crash in a a red Toyota Scion, police said.
He was found shortly after when he crashed into the median on Route 199, police said, and was taken into custody.
Mancia, of the 4000 block of Governors Square, was allegedly found to be intoxicated and was later charged with DUI — 1st offense, DUI involuntary manslaughter, felony hit-and-run, reckless driving, DUI maiming and refusal — DUI.
10 On Your Side caught up with Milligan University’s Student Government Association President Chase McGlamery who fondly remembers his friend Cramer.
“He could always light up a room very quickly,” said McGlamery. “You can definitely feel it on campus today and especially last night that something is off, something is missing. And it’s Cramer.”
McGlamery says Cramer was known for always making sure he left a smile on everyone’s face.
“One of his teammates quoted it the best way I know in that the two most important things in Cramer’s life were running and making people laugh,” he said. “That was him.”
The Virginia State Police Accident Reconstruction Team was called to assist in the investigation, as well as the Bureau of Criminal Investigation and the commonwealth’s attorney’s office, and the crash remains under investigation.
Milligan University was set to compete in the 56th Annual Colonial Relays at William & Mary starting Friday morning.
Chase McGlamery, the student government president for the Christian liberal arts university in Johnson City, Tennessee, released a statement on Friday, saying Cramer was “a stranger to no one” and “was the type of person that always brightened your day.”
“The past 24 hours have been unimaginable for our campus and have left a hole in our community. Eli Cramer was our friend, classmate and teammate,” the statement read in part. “Above all, Cramer was a stranger to no one. He held a contagious energy that was integral to his team and our campus community. Like many of you, I shared classes and countless laughs with him. He was the type of person that always brightened your day. Cramer was a man who knew when to put his head down and work or when to steal the room with a sarcastic comment. Cramer was one of the best, but he never looked down on anyone. He saw people for people and loved them for who they were.”
You can read the full statement here.
In addition, William & Mary Athletics released the following statement:
“Our deepest sympathies are with the entire Milligan University community and all affected by the tragic accident involving members of their Track & Field team on Thursday afternoon. We are in close contact with the program’s administration, coaches and student-athletes and have made a range of university resources available to those in need.”