Three killed in Roanoke Road crash, including two LaGrange College baseball players

Published 10:34 am Sunday, May 15, 2022

Two LaGrange College baseball players were among three men killed in a two-vehicle accident Saturday night on Roanoke Road, according to Troup County Coroner Erin Hackley.

Jacob Brown, 19, from Duluth and Stephen Bartolotta, 18, from Palm City, Florida were the players killed, Hackley said. Rico Dunn, 24, of LaGrange, was driving the second vehicle and was killed in the crash.

The wreck occurred around 9:15 p.m. on Roanoke Road between Vernon Ferry Road and Paddle Wheel Drive, according to Hackley and Georgia State Patrol.

The GSP preliminary report said a 2015 Honda Accord was traveling east on Georgia 109, or Roanoke Road, when it passed a gray 2019 Honda Accord in a no-passing zone. The Accord struck a 2018 GMC Sierra that was traveling west on Roanoke Road head-on. Hackley said Brown was driving the 2015 Accord that attempted to pass the 2019 Honda Accord and Bartolotta the passenger. She said both were pronounced dead on the scene.

The driver of the GMC Sierra, who Hackley identified as Dunn, was airlifted to Piedmont Columbus Regional Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. 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, per GSP.

Hours before the crash, the LaGrange College baseball team had just secured its fifth consecutive USA South Tournament title with a 10-7 win over N.C. Wesleyan meaning the team was heading to the NCAA Division III Tournament. Brown was the winning pitcher in the game.

“I am deeply saddened to make you aware that we have suffered the loss of two students last night. Baseball players Stephen Bartolotta and Jacob Brown were both killed in a tragic car accident. Coming on the heels of the team’s conference championship win yesterday, this news hits our baseball players especially hard. There simply are no words, ” said LaGrange College President Susanna Baxter. “As we all work to process this tragedy, please care for one another … We will walk through this together as a campus family with God as our strength. Please support one another as the caring community that I know we are.”

GSP said the crash is still under investigation.