Family and friends remembers the lives of two Georgia Southern students killed in car crash

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  • Deacon and Garret had three siblings Walker (16), Natalie (11) and Ryder (5). photo courtesy of Crystal Johnson. 

  • Georgia Southern University mourns the death of students Garrett Harris (left) and Deacon Harris (right) who were killed in a car crash on Interstate 16 while returning from Thanksgiving break. Photo courtesy of Crystal Johnson. 

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Matthew Enfinger

Georgia Southern University remembers the lives of two students who were killed in a car crash on Interstate 16 in Laurens County Sunday morning.

Jack Harris, who went by Deacon, was a junior at GS and his brother Garrett Harris was a freshman.

The two brothers were both returning to the GS campus from Atlanta after Thanksgiving break.

“The boys just left Saturday night here in Atlanta and wanted to get back to southern,” Jack Harris, Deacon and Garrett’s father said. “They had a little bit of homework to finish up, wanted to spend time with their friends before classes started Monday, so they left to drive at night thinking traffic would be better and this accident happened.”

Jack Harris said the family had always been a GS family ever since he attended and played football at GS during the late 80’s early 90’s.

“When they started applying for colleges they were accepted to Georgia Southern first and then pretty much quit looking,” he said.

Dennis Piecuch, mechanical engineering major, reflected on his friendship and memories of Deacon and Garrett.

“I remember when Deacon moved to the Allatoona area either our freshman or sophomore year of high school,” Pieuch said. “He was from a school that had an Air Force JROTC program, and we had a Navy JROTC program. I always thought it was funny how when he first joined our unit he used strange air force lingo, and I would laugh and correct him with the right navy terms. Over the years his younger brother Garrett followed in his footsteps and we all had great times going on trips, and just enjoying everyday high school life.”

Pieuch said that the Harris brothers were the only people he knew from home that came to GS like he did.

“I last ran into Deacon outside of the library and we talked about our CRI jobs, and how busy we were,” Pieuch said. “I last ran into Garrett in the Chick-fil-A line and I was asking him how he was enjoying campus life. I am upset that I will not be seeing them around campus anymore.”

Nicholas Seymour, junior mechanical engineering major, said that he has known Deacon since they were randomly assigned roommates their freshman year. 

“My freshman year Deacon was a random roommate,” Seymour said. “We randomly got paired together and we got pretty close so this is our third year consecutively rooming together. Garrett was his brother. He brought him around a good bit and I was pretty close to him. He stayed the night a couple times.”

Seymour said that both Deacon and Garrett enjoyed working out at the RAC Deacon also worked at the RAC as a Campus Recreation and Intramurals employee. 

Deacon and Garrett had three siblings Walker (16), Natalie (11) and Ryder (5). “They were all incredibly close,” said Crystal Johnson, the mother of Deacon and Garrett.

Jack Harris said the family is thankful for the outpouring of support from the GS community.

“Our hearts are broken, but we’re so thankful for what Georgia Southern meant to us over the years, especially now,” he said.

Funeral arrangements are still being scheduled. Jack Harris is planning for a funeral service to be held on Saturday, Dec. 2.

A GoFundMe has been created by friends of the family to help for the funeral arrangements. If you are interested in helping, click here.