A man was arrested on Thursday after being accused of driving a car that struck several Milligan University track and field athletes who were running in Williamsburg, Virginia, killing one.

Jose Efrain Hernandez Mancia

Jose Efrain Hernandez Mancia was charged with driving under the influence, DUI-involuntary manslaughter, felony hit-and-run, reckless driving, DUI-maiming and DUI refusal to submit a breath or blood sample. 

According to the Virginia State Police, 26-year-old Jose Efrain Hernandez Mancia, of Williamsburg, was driving a Toyota Scion when they allege the car struck several members of Milligan’s track team who were running along Williamsburg Pottery Road in York County, Virginia, around 6 p.m. on Thursday. The driver then fled the scene, police said, and crashed his car into a median shortly after the incident.

Mancia was charged with driving under the influence, DUI-involuntary manslaughter, felony hit-and-run, reckless driving, DUI-maiming and DUI refusal to submit a breath or blood sample.

Four athletes and an assistant coach were on a practice run when three of them were struck. Eli Cramer, 20, was killed in the crash.

Cramer was a sophomore business administration major from Murfreesboro and set two of the school’s all-time best times in the cross country eight-kilometer and the indoor 5,000 meters.

He was part of three Appalachian Athletic Conference championship teams and was a two-time national qualifier in outdoor and indoor track in 2021 and 2022. Cramer was also part of the NAIA team national championships.

Milligan identified the two other runners struck by the car as seniors Alex Mortimer and Eli Baldy.

In a press conference Friday, Milligan officials said Baldy was treated for leg and foot injuries and released from the hospital on Thursday. Mortimer, meanwhile, suffered life-threatening injuries and underwent surgery. He has injuries to his shoulder, hips and a broken fibula and also has bruised lungs and a concussion.

Mortimer is stable and is expected to make a full recovery.

In a video posted to Facebook by the university, Mortimer said from his hospital bed that he suffered a broken leg and dislocated shoulder and thanked everyone for their prayers for him, the team and the university.

“I want to say that moments like this make you realize what is and is not important in your life,” Mortimer said, and he said “do not forsake or discount the beauty and the gift of life.”

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“It is like a vapor, and it flashes before your eyes,” Mortimer continued.

All classes were canceled at Milligan Friday, and counseling services were being made available to students. All Milligan athletic competition scheduled for Friday was postponed.

Milligan Student Government President Chase McGlamery also posted a statement shared by the university, calling the past 24 hours “unimaginable.”

“Words cannot adequately describe the sorrow and heartbreak that is flowing rampantly across our campus today,” McGlamery said. “The next few days and coming weeks will bring a great deal of emotion and heartache for Cramer’s teammates, friends, family and our entire community.

“We are one family at Milligan and now a part of us is forever missing. This tragedy reminds us how short and fragile our lives are,” McGlamery continued. “Life will always be ready to catch us off guard, storms will come and go and trouble will find its way into our lives. But, it’s how we respond to times of trouble that define who we are.”

The College of William and Mary, which was hosting the track meet the Milligan runners were scheduled to compete in, released a statement Friday morning extending “our deepest sympathies“ to Milligan and said they’re in close contact with administrators from Milligan and have “made a range of university resources available to those in need.”

Milligan Athletic Director Christian Pope said during Friday’s press conference they are “incredibly heartbroken by this tragedy” and that the team’s coach was “absolutely devastated.”

University President Bill Greer said the counseling center would be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, and that counseling services would also be available in residence halls at the same times. Greer also said the university will have other opportunities for the community to gather in memory and support next week, with details to be announced later.

Just hours before learning of the accident, Greer said, he had received a package from the NAIA including replica trophies won by the university’s men’s and women’s cross country teams.

“For a little while yesterday I was able to relive the joy I felt when I first heard that they had won, and then only a hours later came the word that this tragic event had taken place and that Eli was dead,” Greer said. “How quickly our emotions ebbed and flowed yesterday, and how quickly things that seem so important suddenly were not.

“But this community is strong, strong because we rely on a shared faith in God and we know, we have faith, that he has a plan in which good will rise up out of this tragedy,” Greer said, “but for now we need time to grieve, time to seek comfort in one another and time to find strength in God.”

Press Staff Writers Tanner Cook and John Thompson contributed to this report.

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