Georgia reportedly fires staffer who sued program after surviving deadly car crash
The University of Georgia fired recruiting staffer, Victoria “Tory” Bowles, who sued the program in July after surviving the January crash that killed football player Devin Willock and staff member Chandler LeCroy.
The school issued a statement Monday saying Bowles was dismissed because she refused to cooperate with an internal investigation into the collision, per the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Her attorneys claim she is being retaliated against for filing the lawsuit, which also names former Georgia player and first-round NFL draft pick Jalen Carter.
The crash occurred hours after the program celebrated its second consecutive national championship in January. LeCroy was driving the SUV Willock was in at the time of the crash. Police reported LeCroy had a blood alcohol concentration of .197, more than twice the legal limit in Georgia.
The 24-year-old was reportedly racing another car driven by Carter, reaching speeds up to 104 mph. The SUV swerved off the road, struck two utility poles and two trees. Willock was 20 years old.
Bowles was sitting in the back seat next to Willock. She sustained serious injuries, including a spinal cord injury, head injury with neurological damage and severe eye pain, lumbar and rib fractures and lacerations to the kidney and liver, according to her lawsuit.
Her complaint, which names LeCroy’s estate as an additional defendant, requests at least $171,595 in general damages in addition to punitive damages. It claims the Georgia Athletic Sssociation entrusted the rented SUV to LeCroy despite being aware that she had multiple speeding violations before the crash.
Bowles was on paid medical leave for a couple of months following the crash. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution referred to Bowles as a “former UGA football staffer” in July after obtaining records that showed she had been placed on unpaid leave in March.
Bowles learned she had been fired by Georgia on Friday, according to Buck Law Firm, who is representing her in the suit. The firm claims the program terminated Bowles knowing that she is still unable to work due to “her significant and permanent injuries.”
Georgia’s athletic department issued a statement to the Journal-Constitution on Monday:
“Applicable policies require university employees to cooperate with internal investigations,” it said. “Over the course of several months, Ms. Bowles was asked — on numerous occasions — to speak with our investigators and provide information, and through her attorney, she repeatedly refused to cooperate. As a result, we were ultimately left with no choice but to terminate her employment.”
Rob Buck, an attorney representing Bowles in her lawsuit, said the university has enacted a “campaign of intimidation” against the employee they paid less than $12,000 a year.
“Tory, like all other perceived liabilities to the football program, became expendable to UGA, and despite her loyalty and meager salary, has been steamrolled,” he said.
Bowles’ suit was the second filed against the athletic association related to the crash. Willock’s father, Dave Willock Sr., filed a $40 million lawsuit in May that also named Carter and LeCroy’s estate as defendants.
Carter was selected ninth overall by the Philadelphia Eagles in the 2023 NFL Draft. After pleading no contest to misdemeanor charges of reckless driving and racing, he received 12 months of probation and a $1,000 fine in March.