Head-on accident kills two

Published 2:23 pm Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Two Faulkner University football players were killed early Tuesday morning when the Ford Explorer they were riding in collided head on with an 18-wheeler.

Ryne K. Wilhite, 19, of New Albany, Miss., and 20-year-old Teirson D. Hollis of Douglasville, Ga., were both in the vehicle when it was involved in the accident with an 2008 International truck on U.S. Highway 82, nine miles east of Maplesville.

“All we have right now is an initial report,” said Doris Teague, with the Department of Public Safety. “The full details of the accident are still being investigated by the Alabama State Troopers.”

Wilhite, who was driving the Explorer, was declared dead at the scene, while Hollis was transported to UAB. He was pronounced dead by a doctor shortly after arriving at the hospital, Teague said.

“I’ve never been through anything like this—it hurts so much,” Faulkner head football coach Gregg Baker said in a university release. “T and Ryne were both great kids, two wonderful Christian young men. The only thing that is helping us right now is the fact that we all know exactly where they are, and that’s with our God in Heaven.”

The accident reportedly happened at 5:10 a.m. Tuesday when the two were reportedly returning to Montgomery after visiting a friend in Tuscaloosa.

Hollis and Wilhite were both sophomore offensive linemen. Hollis had been with the Faulkner program since its inaugural season in 2007. Wilhite, according to the school’s release, had transferred to Faulkner this semester and went through his first spring practice last month.

The school announced flags on the campus were flying at half-staff and that the other members of the football team were informed of the tragedy by Baker and his staff just after the school’s academic honors convocation Tuesday morning.

Faulkner president Dr. Billy D. Hilyer informed the rest of the student body, faculty and administration and announced that grief counselors have been made available to everyone on campus.

“This is a very difficult day for our family,” Hilyer said. My primary mission on this campus is to be there for our students and to help provide them what they need to earn a quality Christian education.”

Funeral arrangements for both Wilhite and Hollis have not been made available.