Police: Student killed in crash involving drunk driver

ATLANTA — The Spelman College community is mourning the loss of one of its students killed in a crash.

Erica Lanier died this week when the car she was riding in was involved in an accident on Marietta Street in northwest Atlanta.

Her friend, Alexis Sims, was speeding and lost control and wrecked, police said.

Sims was charged with DUI and vehicular homicide.

Channel 2's Tyisha Fernandes spoke to Lanier's cousin, Julian, by phone. He said despite the charges, the driver and Lanier were best friends and the family is not mad at the driver. They're praying for a speedy recovery.


Fernandes learned Lanier was a popular student on campus. She was a dancer, a student mentor and taught dance to girls.

She was also part of the Spelman dance group called Mahogany-N-Motion.

Lanier attended Greenforest-McCalep Christian Academy in Decatur for most of her life. Chaplain Rhonda Hicks was her Kindergarten teacher.

“She encompassed so many things, she was beautiful on the inside and outside,” Hicks told Fernandes Friday afternoon.

Hicks remembers how serious Lanier was about mentoring young girls and her faith. When she got into an argument with a friend at 5-years-old, Hicks told her to pray.

“Next thing you know Erica was 'Dear Jesus, would you' and that's the story I've told all her life,” Hicks shared.

Fernandes also learned Lanier cared about the environment and started The Earth Project, an environmental initiative at Green Forest Christian Academy. A spokesman for the academy tells us they will finish the project in her honor.