Community gathers to say goodbye to students

Columbia, SC – On August 30, 2009, a typical Sunday morning that should have been devoted to worshipping, relaxing and studying, students at Allen University instead spent the day grieving the loss of two classmates who died in a car crash earlier that morning.

Jerry Blandin McGowen of Greenville, and Candice Danielle Davis of Eutawville were tragically killed in an automobile accident near the campus by a drunk driver. The lives of these two students were remembered and celebrated on Tuesday, September 29, 2009 at 11:00 a.m. in the John Hurst Adams Gymnatorium during a campus Memorial Service. Families of both students were present for the service.

After the service, family, faculty and friends released balloons in memory of their lost loved ones and many felt it was spiritually uplifting, something they all could use to help make sense of this horrible tragedy.

Courtney Williams, the Allen University student who survived a fatal car wreck outside Columbia’s Five Points last month is out of intensive care, but is still recovering. She has been moved to a rehab center and her prognosis is good.

Columbia police say Jabari Harding’s pickup truck slammed into the car carrying Allen students at the corner of Harden and Gervais streets on the morning of August 30. Harding was charged with driving under the influence.

Williams was taken to the hospital with a brain injury. Trevor Clinton, Williams’ uncle who raised her, said she is still receiving care but has been moved out of the ICU. Clinton did indicate that Williams was not paralyzed by her injury.

Williams does not remember the accident or even starting college, though the accident happened a month into her freshman year.

Last Tuesday, Williams’ family and counselors from Mothers Against Drunk Driving told her for the first time that Davis, Williams’ childhood friend, died in the wreck. Clinton said Williams took the news "about as well as can be expected."