The Peachtree Ridge High School community is in mourning at the loss of a former baseball player over the weekend.

Two LaGrange College baseball players, including Jacob Brown of Peachtree Ridge, died in a car crash Saturday night after the team won its conference title, school officials said.

Brown and Stephen Bartolotta, both freshman pitchers for the team, died in the accident, which involved two vehicles. The driver of the other vehicle, 24-year-old Rico Dunn of LaGrange, also died, according to authorities.

“Our Peachtree Ridge Athletics community is mourning the loss of alumni Jacob Brown,” Peachtree Ridge Athletic Director Ryan Lesniak said. “A 2021 graduate, Jacob was a pitcher for the Lions who had a great personality and an unmatched passion for the game of baseball. He will be missed dearly by all of those at Peachtree Ridge.”

News reports said the accident happened on State Route 109 in Troup County. A spokesperson for the Georgia State Patrol said there was a three-vehicle accident on Ga. 109 in Troup County on Saturday night, and that three people had died in the accident but they could not release the names of the victims.

“A silver 2015 Honda Accord was traveling east on GA 109 when it passed a gray 2019 Honda Accord in a no passing zone,” Georgia State Patrol Public Information Officer Franka Young said. “The 2015 Accord struck a 2008 GMC Sierra head-on, which was traveling west on GA 109.

“After impact, the GMC Sierra overturned and came to an uncontrolled rest off the roadway. The 2019 Honda Accord was struck by debris from the crash, however none of the occupants were injured.”

Young said two people in the 2015 Honda Accord died at the scene while the driver of the GMC Sierra was airlifted to Piedmont Columbus Regional Hospital. The GMC driver, identified as Dunn, died at the hospital.

The LaGrange Daily News reported Brown and Bartolotta were in the 2015 Honda Accord. Although officials from the Georgia State Patrol have not identified who was driving the vehicle, The LaGrange Daily News cited Troup County Coroner Erin Hackley, who told the newspaper that Brown was driving the car.

Young said a specialized crash reconstruction team is investigating the accident and a report on the crash is not yet available.

LaGrange College President Susanna Baxter said her school is also in mourning.

“We will walk through this together as a campus family with God as our strength,” Baxter said in the statement released by the school. “Please support one another as the caring community that I know we are.”

Brown pitched Saturday during LaGrange College’s 10-7 win over N.C. Wesleyan that clinched the USA South Tournament championship, earning the win in relief. Bartolatta was from Palm City, Fla, according to the school’s website.

(1) comment


Horrible situation, prayers to the family.

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