“He was just a sweet guy:” Atlanta educator killed in wrong-way crash on downtown connector

ATLANTA — EDITORIAL NOTE: On Monday night, we aired a story about a teacher killed in a wrong-way crash. The Atlanta Police Department completed its report Tuesday on the wreck and informed us that the teacher was the wrong-way driver. The 22-year-old driver mentioned in the story was the victim. We apologize for the confusion.

There is a lot of disbelief and sadness tonight about the young educator and father killed in a wrong-way crash along the downtown connector Sunday.

Channel 2′s Matt Johnson spoke with friends and colleagues of 28-year-old Mecario Harris, who described him as someone everyone gravitated towards.

“He was just so passionate,” friend Marcus Harden said.

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Atlanta police said Harris died the southbound lanes of the downtown connector at Fulton Street after crashing into 22-year-old driver head on.

“There’s literally nothing bad I could say about him if I wanted to,” Harden said. “He was just a sweet guy.”

Harris worked as an educator for Atlanta Public Schools before joining Harden to start the nonprofit “Ace Academy” in Atlanta.

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“He was so great,” Harden said. “With our after school or auxiliary programs, especially during COVID-19. He’d recruit all the kids, he’d go pick him up, he made sure they got home.”

Harden says the kids whom Harris loved the most were his own — his young son and daughter.

“He (Harris) is always talking about wanting to do more, and always trying to do more for his kids and those kids,” he said.

The crash happened just before 3 a.m. on Sunday.

“It’s a huge loss,” said Harris’s former co-worker Christopher Wilkerson.

Christopher Wilkerson worked with Harris at Thomasville Heights Elementary School.

He says Harris especially loved working with kids who needed a little extra push.

“We had kids who were doing lots of different things,” Wilkerson said. “He was able to kind of go in and just work with those kids. They trusted him, they knew him.”

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Harden says he and Harris recently got approved for a grant to launch a new music production summer program.

Except Harden never got a chance to tell him the good news.

“That was going to be our next conversation, to do the work we were going to do this summer,” Harden said.

A vigil will be held for Harris at Thomasville Heights Elementary School on Wednesday, June 8 at 7 p.m.

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