Tragedy has struck a Milligan University student-athlete. On Thursday, track star Eli Cramer was killed tragically after being hit by a car while running in Virginia.
According to the Virginia State Police reports, the 20-year-old was part of five student-athletes in the men’s cross country/track and field team running on a Virginia road when three were hit by a passing Scion vehicle.
The injured members of the Milligan track team were transported to the Sentara Williamsburg Regional Medical Center. According to reports, two of the athletes suffered minor to severe injuries; however, Cramer died at the hospital due to his injuries.
To know Eli was truly to love him. Eli Cramer was one of the kindest, funniest, most genuine souls I’ve ever known. My heart breaks that he is gone, and I know his light will shine bright in Heaven as it did here on Earth. May God rest his soul. I love you forever, brother. pic.twitter.com/SX4p1ZzAsO
— sheldon smith (@sheldorito) April 1, 2022
A Budding Talent
Cramer was a sophomore at Milligan University, training for an upcoming event. According to reports, he ran a sub-15-minute 5K (14:30.46) in the Rams College Invitational.
“Didn’t really matter if you’d been having a rough day, a bad day, spend 5-10 minutes with Cramer he’d have you laughing on the floor,” said Chase McGlamery, Student Government Association president for Milligan University to 13 News Now in Norfolk, Virginia.
Eventually, Jose Efrain Hernandez Mancia was identified as the driver after he reportedly tried to flee the scene but crashed into a median on Route 199.
According to reports, Mancia was discovered to be intoxicated and placed under arrest.
A Tragic Ending
According to reports, the 26-year-old was taken to the Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail and is now facing six charges: DUI – 1st offense, DUI – Involuntary Manslaughter, Felony Hit and Run, Reckless Driving, DUI Maiming, and Refusal – DUI.
One of the victims, Alex Mortimer, released a video from his hospital bed after the horrific crash. He updated the world, letting them know he had a broken leg and a dislocated shoulder.
“I wanna exhort and thank you all for praying for me, the Milligan team and the university and institution,” Mortimer said. “Moments like this make you realize what is and is not important in your life.”
The School Speaks
Milligan University also released a statement on the incident.
“We are incredibly shocked and saddened to share that members of our men’s cross country/track & field team were in an accident involving a vehicle this evening while running near Williamsburg, VA.
“Sophomore Eli Cramer succumbed to his injuries. Seniors Alex Mortimer and Eli Baldy also were injured. Mortimer is currently undergoing treatment. Baldy was treated and released.”
Baldy is a mechanical engineering student at the Tennessee private school of 1,500 students.
“We covet your prayers during this difficult time, especially for the Cramer family,” the university wrote.
The After Shock
Milligan University is a private Christian school located near Johnson City, Tennessee. The university suspended learning activities Friday in the wake of the tragedy. Other collegiate track and field programs weighed in on the tragedy.
“The first thing I thought of was our runners at Norfolk State,” Norfolk State University Track and Field Director Kenneth Giles said to 13 News Now in Norfolk, Virginia.
Giles confirmed that off-track training for upcoming meets is standard for many athletes.
“We do it all the time as runners,” he continued. “As middle-distance, as distance runners, we come out here sometimes just to get away from the track.”