STATESBORO, GA (WTOC) - A deadly car crash south of Macon killed two Georgia Southern students - who were also brothers - early Sunday morning.
Jack Deacon Harris, 20, and Garrett Harris, 18, were on their way back to Statesboro from Thanksgiving break early Sunday morning. They were on I-16 in Laurens County when Georgia State Patrol said they were struck by a car going westbound in the eastbound lane.
The brothers' car erupted in flames. A coroner later pronounced them dead at the scene.
On campus, the university issued a statement offering their sympathies to the family and friends affected. They also said counselors would be available for those who needed it due to this tragedy.
The tragedy ripples across generations here because of the brothers' father, Jack Harris, who went to school at GS and played football for the Eagles in the 1990's. His teammates are shocked and saddened, too.
"We're all asking ourselves and each other what can we do. How can we reach out to Jack and help other than praying and begging for peace and comfort," Tim Durden said. Durden was a teammate of the boy's father. "There have been some really, really tragic accidents on I-16, but you know, it's home."
Jack Deacon's high school friend Dennis Piecuch remembers them both and can't believe either one's gone, let alone both. Dennis and Deacon were in JRTOC together before they graduated and headed to Georgia Southern.
"I drive up and down I-16 all the time. We're just kids, we don't think about that stuff, how quickly your life can change and how your life can be over," Piecuch said. "Just great guys, fun to be around. You see them around campus or in the halls back in high school, they wanted to know how you were doing."
Jack Deacon was an upperclassman and a political science major. You'd often find him at the Recreation Activity Center, either working or working out. To his friends, he was a fixture around campus.
A crash on the interstate would be the last thing on the brothers' or Dennis' mind.
"They were doing something I do all the time, leaving real late or real early to beat the traffic," he said.
He says this loss leaves him and others appreciating their friends and each moment more.
"We're gonna miss having them around, that friendly aura around campus," Piecuch said.
Garrett was a freshman, still deciding on a major.
Georgia State Patrol tells me the other driver in this crash was hospitalized as well and this case could be under investigation for some time.