Fatal car accident kills two Appling teens

Sunday, Oct. 13, 2013 6:44 PM
Last updated Monday, Oct. 14, 2013 12:48 AM
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The smell of spray paint lingered in the air as friends and family of two Appling teens who died in a car wreck Sun­day morning mourned their loss at Harlem High School.

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Friends and family of Chance Lonergan, 18, and Madison "Scotti" Gandy, 17, who died early Sunday when the pickup in which they were traveling crashed on Shucraft Road, gathered at Harlem High School.  JIM BLAYLOCK/STAFF
Friends and family of Chance Lonergan, 18, and Madison "Scotti" Gandy, 17, who died early Sunday when the pickup in which they were traveling crashed on Shucraft Road, gathered at Harlem High School.

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More than a hundred people surrounded a large rock on the corner of the campus that had been painted black with the red outline of a heart filling the void. In white lettering, the names of Joseph Chance Lon­er­gan, 18, and Madison Scott­land “Scotti” Gandy, 17, were painted above the phrase “Forever Young.”

“It feels like a bad dream that you can’t wake up from,” said George Ash­men, a Har­lem senior and friend of Lon­ergan.

The couple were ejected from a 2003 Ford F-150 in the 6600 block of Shucraft Road on Sunday morning after the truck left the road, Colum­bia County sheriff’s Capt. Steve Morris said.

Lonergan died at the scene, Depu­ty Coroner Bon­nie King said. Gandy, who was taken to Georgia Regents Med­i­cal Center, died less than an hour later. Both suffered from blunt force trauma. King said autopsies are scheduled in Atlanta on Tuesday.

Lonergan, who was a firefighter with the Harlem Fire Department, is the son of Harlem Fire Chief Tripp Loner­gan, according to a post on the department’s Face­book page.

Ashmen said he and Lon­er­gan played baseball together, and that Lonergan would go out of his way to help him on the field.

“He played first base, and I was trying out for first base,” he said. “Whenever I would slip up, he would show me how to do something better or encourage me in any kind of way.”
Mark Player, a Harlem senior, remembers the first time he met Gandy.

“She had this amazing giggle and she’d laugh at everything,” he said. “We used to pick on her about it, but now I realized that I’m going to miss it a lot.”

Player said he heard the news from a friend but didn’t believe it was real. Having attended Harlem Baptist Church with Lonergan, he said he got to know the couple well.
“Always together,” he said. “Always happy.”
People embraced each other as Scripture was read. The occasional sob broke the silence at the rock, dimly lit by the headlights of a few pickups.

“I know they’re in a better place, but I’d still like to see them,” Hunter Hyatt said as tears welled in his eyes. “I just don’t know why she deserved to die. She was one of my best friends, and I’ll never get to see her again.”

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GuyGene 10/13/13 - 08:06 pm
Oh me, this is sad. My

Oh me, this is sad. My prayers for the families and friends. Appling has been hit hard lately with traffic accidents. They need a red light at Shucraft and White Oak road, and White Oak road and Hwy 47 intersections.

jbartley 10/13/13 - 09:12 pm
No words

No words will help, I am sorry for your loss!

nocnoc 10/14/13 - 05:19 am
Our Families Heart felt

and sincere condolences.

myfather15 10/14/13 - 05:58 am
I know Tripp very well and

I know Tripp very well and have known him for years. This is a very sad day!! I'm sorry for your loss.

Please, Please, Please; where your safety belts. No matter how bad the crash, you have a much better chance of surviving if you stay in that seat area. If you're thrown out, you chance dramatically decrease.

LBunnies32 10/14/13 - 08:44 am
My heart goes out to the parents....

I understand, first hand, the pain of loosing a child. I lost my son in 2003, at the age of 16, to a car accident. There are no words that can be said to ease your pain. Only time can offer some solace. My son had his seat belt on and died because he was unconscious in the vehicle when it became engulfed in flames! I am always deeply hurt when I see another child has been taken away.

LillyfromtheMills 10/14/13 - 09:23 am
LB32 - so sorry

What a sad time - our little towns are in mourning.

rmwhitley 10/14/13 - 12:39 pm
God bless

Mr. Lonergan and Ms. Gandy's souls.

Little Lamb
Little Lamb 10/14/13 - 01:08 pm
Traffic Lights

I am truly sorry for this tragedy, but putting traffic lights all up and down White Oak Road is not the proper way to pay respects to these deceased young people.

LillyfromtheMills 10/14/13 - 02:30 pm
I agree LL

This was country they were in.

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