In the wake of Thursday’s fatal accident in Williamsburg, Virginia, that caused the death of sophomore Eli Cramer and injured two other Miligan track athletes, the Milligan community came together in remembrance and prayer. Students gathered in Seeger Chapel Thursday night to mourn and pray for those affected by the tragedy. Classes were suspended on Friday for all students, and counselors were available on campus.
On Thursday afternoon, 14 Milligan track and field athletes headed to Williamsburg for weekend races at the College of William and Mary. Students were notified Thursday at 8:30 p.m. that Eli Cramer and seniors Alex Mortimer and Eli Baldy had been hit by a vehicle during a practice run along Williamsburg Pottery Road. The driver fled the scene immediately, but was later arrested by the Virginia State Police. Jose Efrain Hernandez Mancia, 26, of Williamsburg was charged with driving under the influence, DUI-involuntary manslaughter, and other charges.
Cramer passed away from his injuries at Williamsburg Sentara Hospital. Mortimer remains in recovery after undergoing surgery twice. Baldy, who suffered a leg and foot injury, was released from the hospital Thursday night.
Late Thursday night, in a Facebook video posted by Milligan, Mortimer provided an update on his condition, expressing thanks and encouraging a continuation of prayer.
“I want to thank you for praying for me, for the Cramer family, the Baldy family, and for the cross country and track team,” he said. “Do not forsake or discount the beauty and the gift of life, it is like a vapor and it flashes before our eyes.”
Milligan’s athletes began their return home at noon on Friday and were expected to arrive sometime that night.
During a press conference at Milligan on Friday morning, Athletic Director Christian Pope described the accomplishments of the three athletes including Cramer’s recent program record in the 8K. He announced that Friday’s scheduled athletic events were postponed. President Bill Greer shared his condolences and spoke about the growing support from the community.
“Together, we look to God for peace and for strength as we face these final few weeks of the semester, which will now continue in the shadow of this great loss,” Greer said. “In the face of this tragedy, I witnessed the Milligan community come together last night in a beautiful way…when tragedy strikes one, it strikes us all.”
SGA President Chase McGlamery described Cramer as a “friend, classmate and teammate.”
“He held a contagious energy that was integral to his team and our campus community,” McGlamery said. “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.”
Seeger Chapel remained open on Friday for students as a place of solitude and quiet. Counseling services will be available at residence halls from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday. During the morning press conference, Greer said that other opportunities for community support are in place for next week.