Gwinnett County high school cheerleader killed in crash; driver arrested on DUI charges

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — Mill Creek High School in Gwinnett County is mourning the loss of one of its students after a car accident over the weekend.

Mill Creek cheer team posted on Sunday afternoon that one of their junior cheerleaders, 16-year-old Caitlyn Pollock, died in the accident the night before.

The driver, 21-year-old Kyle McDowell, is now facing charges.

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Gwinnett County Police said Pollock was a passenger in McDowell’s car when he failed to navigate the entrance ramp onto State Route 316, hitting a concrete barrier.

McDowell was taken to the hospital with minor injuries. He was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, failure to maintain lane, and first-degree vehicular homicide.

Channel 2′s Elizabeth Rawlins was at Mill Creek High School Monday, where it was a very somber day. Students and teachers held a moment of silence to reflect on and remember their classmate.

The family’s spokeswoman, Lori D’Adamio, said she Pollock was loved by everyone.

“She had a smile that just lit up the room and made you feel good,” D’Adamio said. “Life is precious and it can be taken away in an instant, and Caitlyn’s was taken away and it shouldn’t have been.”

Rawlins talked to Pollock’s mother off camera, who said she’s been getting calls and messages from people in counties she hasn’t even heard of.

“How does my daughter know people in all of these places?” she said. “Because Caitlyn knew everyone.”

It’s still unclear how Pollock knew McDowell or where they were going.

Funeral arrangements are still in the works.

Mill Creek High School Principal Jason Lane sent the letter below out to the school community:

Dear Mill Creek High School parents and guardians,

It is with deep sadness that I inform you about the tragic loss of one of our Mill Creek High students over the weekend. Our hearts and thoughts are with the student's family, friends, and loved ones as they cope with this tremendous personal loss. On Monday we will hold a special moment of silence in memory of our student, classmate, and friend.

This loss may raise many emotions, concerns, and questions from our school community, especially from some students. Counselors and social workers will be at our school Monday to provide support, comfort, and reassurance to students who need it. We wanted to make you aware of these plans for support as well as extend the opportunity for you to speak with your child before they come to school Monday.

Dealing with death is hard, and it can be very challenging for high school-aged children. If you find that your child needs help or wants to talk to someone about this situation, please don’t hesitate to contact the school, as our school counselors are well-trained in helping children with complex issues such as this. In addition, below, you will find tips that may help you at home if your student is having a hard time with this loss.

Yours in service,

Jason Lane


—  Jason Lane, Mill Creek High School principal

Police have not released details about the crash. Channel 2 reached out to Gwinnett police for the crash reports.

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