GRAY, Ga.— A head-on collision that claimed the life of a Georgia College professor and her 15-year-old daughter near the Jones-Baldwin county line Tuesday afternoon remains under investigation by the Jones County Sheriff’s Office.
The victims killed were identified as Jennifer Hammack, 44, a criminal justice professor at the college in Milledgeville and her daughter, Erica Luca, both of Milledgeville, according to Jones County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Chris Shurley.
The deputy, a trained specialized fatality investigator, said Hammack and Luca were killed instantly.
A third person, identified as Howard Massengale, 38, of the Haddock community in Jones County, survived the crash, Shurley said. Massengale, who is recovering from a broken pelvis and other injuries, remained at The Medical Center Navicent Health in Macon on Friday, authorities said.
The head-on collision, which happened on Ga. Route 49 just inside Jones County shortly after 5 p.m. Tuesday, occurred when the driver of a pickup truck, Massengale, reportedly veered over into the northbound lane of travel and struck Hammack’s car head-on, Shurley told The Union-Recorder.
Shurley said charges are pending against Massengale.
Meanwhile, Hammack, who taught criminal justice for a number of years at Georgia College, is being remembered by former students and colleagues.
One of them is former student Russell Wall.
“Without professor Hammack, I doubt that I would’ve ever become an attorney,” said Wall. “My first real consideration to pursuing the law came during my time in her Constitutional Law class, mostly because she made the class interesting.”
While considering the possibility of someday becoming a lawyer, he recalled he didn’t have a clue how to go about studying for the LSAT or even applying to law school.
“Her encouragement led [me] down the path, and her guidance and support carried me through the process,” said Wall. “No offense to any of her predecessors, but I don’t think Georgia College had much of a pre-law program [before] Professor Hammack, if they did, I didn’t see it.”
Wall said it was his opinion that the pre-law program at Georgia College started with Hammack.
“And there’s no telling how many attorneys she’s minted in the 15 years since I first sat in her class,” Wall said.
While attending law school at the University of Georgia School in Athens, Wall said he stayed in touch with Hammack as well as during the first few years after he graduated and became a successful lawyer in a private practice in downtown Greensboro.
“She always wanted to make sure I was doing well,” Wall said. “I regret that I didn’t do a better job of keeping up with her in the last few years. I certainly owe a lot to her, and I know I’m just one of many. Georgia College lost a great one.”
Hammack was the second professor at Georgia College to be killed in a traffic-related accident since October 2016.
A head-on collision involving three vehicles on Lake Laurel Road in Baldwin County claimed the lives of GC professor Allison Everett, 51, and her brother, David Black, 54. Everett’s husband, Kenneth Everett, 54, was seriously injured, as were two others.
Allison Everett worked as an exercise sciences lecturer at Georgia College and had served as an adjunct professor at Georgia Military College for 12 years.