Two rising seniors at R.A. Hubbard High School, both members of the football team, died just after noon Tuesday when the car they were in ran off the road and struck a tree, according to Lawrence County authorities.
Lawrence County Coroner Scott Norwood identified the victims as Derrick Devon Wiggins Jr., 17, and Javion Brown, 16, both of Courtland. He said the two were traveling south in a red Mustang driven by Wiggins and ran off Alabama 33 in a curve atop Courtland Mountain near a power substation. He said the car was traveling at a high rate of speed when it struck a tree. The victims were partially ejected and were not wearing seat belts, he said.
Norwood said 911 received the call at 12:29 p.m. and he pronounced the teens dead at the scene at 12:46 p.m. He said the cause of both deaths was blunt force trauma.
Lawrence County Deputy Sheriff Tim Sandlin said his department assisted the state troopers in working the accident.
“We worked the traffic flow. Alabama 33 was closed for about two hours while the troopers were investigating,” he said. Moulton Fire Department and Chalybeate Volunteer Fire Department also responded to the scene.
North Courtland Mayor Riely Evans Sr. said Wiggins was quarterback of the football team, and Brown was a middle linebacker and fullback. He said the two were driving to Moulton after a morning football workout when the wreck occurred.
“My heart goes out to the families,” Evans said. “These were good kids from good families and had bright futures. We’re hurting as a community about this. As a family man and a parent, I understand the hurt of these kids’ parents. I am praying God will give them the strength and courage to get past this tragedy. … I know these kids were looking forward to going deeper into the playoffs this upcoming season.”
Last year, R.A. Hubbard went 5-6 and lost 20-16 to Ragland in the first round of the Class 1A playoffs.
Lawrence County Schools Superintendent Jon Bret Smith called the fatal wreck “a terribly tragic event.”
“It’s always difficult when a death happens in a school, especially when it happens to two students like this,” he said. “Our prayers go out to the parents, teachers and everybody else involved in these two kids’ lives.”
District 1 school board member Christine Garner said she was shocked when she heard the news.
“It is absolutely horrible,” she said. “I am truly sorry for the families and the community.”
Jackson Memory Funeral Home in Town Creek is handling funeral arrangements.
On Sunday, an R.A. Hubbard High graduate, Jonathan Patlan, 25, of Madison, was one of two people who died in a one-car accident east of Athens, according to state troopers.
Smith said the school system would have grief counselors at R.A. Hubbard later this week.