Editor’s Note: VSP clarified that while five teammates were transported to the hospital, only three of the five were hit by the vehicle. The agency originally reported that the vehicle hit all five members. At a press conference, Milligan University officials said that the incident involved four runners and an assistant coach.
ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. (WJHL) — A Milligan University cross country/track runner died Thursday, March 31 after a car driven by a man allegedly under the influence hit him and two other runners.
Four athletes and an assistance coach with the university’s men’s cross country/track team were running on Williamsburg Pottery Road in York County, Virginia around 6:02 p.m. Thursday when a red two-door sedan hit three of them before fleeing the scene.
A VSP release said officers arrested the driver shortly after the incident when the car crashed into the median on Route 199. The driver has since been identified as Jose Efrain Hernandez Mancia, 26, of Williamsburg.
First responders transported the five runners to the Williamsburg Sentara Hospital, according to VSP.
The university announced that sophomore Eli Cramer, 20, of Murfreesboro, died at the hospital. In a press conference on Friday, university officials revealed that the assistant coach, Natalia Rivas-Foster, acted as a first responder at the scene in an attempt to save Cramer. Rivas-Foster and one student-athlete were not injured in the crash.
Milligan identified the two injured athletes as seniors Alex Mortimer, 21, from Lexington, Kentucky and Eli Baldy, 21, from Knoxville. The university stated that Mortimer underwent treatment and is stable as of Friday morning, and Baldy has been treated and released from the hospital.
University officials said Mortimer has undergone multiple surgeries, and his injuries included a dislocated shoulder and broken leg, along with bruising to his lungs and a possible concussion.
The VSP Accident Reconstruction Team, the Bureau of Criminal Investigation and the Commonwealth’s Attorney continue to investigate the incident.
The university stated that Cramer broke the school’s 5K record at the NAIA National Championships earlier in March.
The university hosted a vigil at Milligan’s Seeger Chapel to give students a chance to mourn the loss of Cramer and pray for Baldy and Mortimer.
Dr. Bill Greer said counselors were on-site to meet with students during the event, and Milligan University announced that all learning activities on April 1 were canceled in response to the incident.