Fiery Car Crash Kills Incoming Freshman, Boyfriend and Another Couple

This week, the University of Tampa suffered the loss of someone it should — but will never — know.

A fiery head-on collision Sunday claimed the life of incoming UT freshman Caitlin Currey, 18, and her boyfriend. The Tennessee music student and three close friends were traveling on a Kentucky interstate when their Chevrolet crossed the median and hit a tractor-trailer head on. Both vehicles erupted into flames, and Currey and her three friends all died from injuries sustained in the crash.

The two couples, who planned to date long-distance in the fall, were making the most of their summer, going on a double-date to an amusement park.

Currey was dating fellow musician Jackson Harris, 19, the class valedictorian. In his graduation speech, he declared his love for Currey, The Tennessean reported.

“He was enamored with her,” Mary Currey, Caitlin’s mother, told the paper. “And she loved him.”

Currey’s father was also looking for answers.

“Something went terribly wrong, and we don’t know what,” David Currey told the paper. “It’s hard for anyone to lose a child, and we don’t think our loss is more exceptionally painful than anyone else’s. We just feel these were some extraordinarily talented young people.”

Police investigating the accident say Harris was driving and are still trying to determine what caused the car to cross the median, but officials told Tennessee media that they do not believe alcohol was a factor. The other couple who died was Ryan Williams, 19, a sophomore at Savannah College of Art and Design; and Caitlin Lee, 20, an incoming junior at Guilford College in North Carolina.

The two young men were like brothers and so much in common, both even having girlfriends named Caitlin.

Currey, a recent graduate of East Literature Magnet High School in Nashville, Tenn., was coming back from a trip to Ohio’s King’s Island amusement park with her friends, all whom she met through high school band, in which she played the flute.

Currey was planning on joining the Spartan Band at UT when she entered this fall. She wanted to study music and eventually become a music therapist.

After the tragic accident, a Facebook group was created in memoriam of Currey and her three friends. Nicole Knowles-Kidd, one member of the group, says she has known Currey since she was a baby. Knowles-Kidd said that the two knew each other through church. Both of their families are part of Nashville’s Glencliff Presbyterian Church, which both of their grandparents helped found.

Caitlin is survived by her parents and, according to Knowles-Kidd, an older sister named Sara.

“I don’t think I have ever seen Caitlin mad or even act upset,” said Knowles-Kidd. “She was one of the happiest and sweetest people you could ever meet. I know people say that a lot whenever someone passes away, but it was really true of Caitlin Currey.”

Knowles-Kidd also said that Caitlin was extremely smart and mature for her age. “I know that her whole family was so excited about her going to college soon,” she said.

According to the Tennessean, the Assistant Principal of the high school Caitlin attended, Tim Caher, said the four were a great group of kids who all helped around the school office.

“They had so much life and energy,” Caher told the Tennessean. “It’s just terrible. We’re in complete shock and we’re just so broken-hearted.”


Because Currey died before she could ever step in a UT classroom, she knew few Tampa students. Her roommate-to-be Alexa Guarni was shocked to hear the news.

“I didn’t know a lot about her because we only talked once but I know that she was a very nice girl,” Guarni said.

Other tributes flowed into the Facebook memorial group.

“Caitlin Currey has played a very special role in my life,” wrote Zach Brattsveen. “I’ve known her since third grade, and we would always try to outdo each other’s grades, because we were the biggest nerds in the class. I usually won, of course. She was even my first girlfriend back in fifth grade. We were so awkward! And I’ve stayed in touch with her throughout the years, and she has been a wonderful friend and she has taught me a lot. I’ll never forget her. RIP.”

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Services for Currey were planned for Saturday, August 2. They will be at the Glencliff Presbyterian Church in Nashville, Tenn.

Visitation is at 2 p.m., and the service is at 4 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, Currey’s father is asking that for donations to a fund at her high school that will be used to assist music students who cannot afford instruments, music and lessons.

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