2 Ga. Southern students from Acworth killed in wrong-way crash

LAURENS COUNTY, Ga. — Two metro Atlanta brothers were killed when a driver crashed into them head-on on Interstate 16 in Laurens County.

Jared Adler, 27, of Sandy Springs, was driving the wrong way on I-16 East around 1:15 a.m. near mile post 34 on Sunday, according to the Georgia State Patrol.

Adler struck a car head-on with Jack Deacon Harris, 20, and Garrett Harris, 18, inside, troopers said. The Harris' car caught fire and both brothers died at the scene.

 Deacon and Garrett Harris

Adler was taken to a hospital for his injuries.

Family members said the brothers, who were from Acworth and graduated from Allatoona High School, were heading back to school from Thanksgiving break when the crash happened.

"You can't imagine what it's like to lose a child," said Jim Hourigan, who coached both brothers on a youth football team and became a close family friend. "To lose two children, after having a great weekend with the family celebrating Thanksgiving, to lose two like that, it's just unimaginable."


Hourigan said the brothers come from a close knit family and their bond was unbreakable.

"Deacon and Garrett were inseparable. Always with a smile on their face," he said. "They were just good guys. The kind of kids you'd want your children to be. It's just a shame we lost them at such an early age."

Georgia Southern released a statement about the tragic crash:

"The Georgia Southern University community is saddened to learn of the accident that resulted in the loss of in the loss of two of our students, Garrett Harris and Jack Deacon Harris. Our deepest sympathies go out to their family and friends and our thoughts are with them during this time. Counseling is available for our students as we all grieve this tragedy."

Deacon was a junior at the university and Garrett was a freshman.

Adler is recovering in the hospital. Police say a number of charges are pending against him, including the possibility of vehicular homicide.

"I know Jack and Crystal (the boys' parents) hold no ill will toward the young man. As a matter of fact, Jack told me that he's praying for his recovery," Hourigan said. "To put yourself in either family, we're all losers in this."

In a statement, the family asked for privacy as they deal with this tragedy.