, wife of Atlanta Braves trainer Jeff Porter, has left the community shocked and saddened by the loss.
According to Georgia State Patrol public information officer Gordy Wright, Porter’s wife died at the scene following a collision with a Georgia State Patrol vehicle that was on the way to assist another trooper attempting to stop a fleeing motorcyclist. Porter, his son, David, 19, and another passenger, Courtney Ann Williams, 18, of Grayson, were taken to Grady Hospital with non-life threatening injuries, as was the GSP trooper.
Tim Cash, pastor of the Oasis Church in Loganville, said he asked his congregation Sunday to commit to lifting the family up in their prayers as Porter and his son try to come to terms with the loss.
"With loss of a wife and a mom it is a very heartbreaking time for them. Although there are others who I’m sure will feel it, those are the two who it is going to impact the most,” Cash said. “My heart goes out to Jeff. He’s been in a position as trainer with the Braves since the mid 1980’s. His job has always been taking care of players and now he finds himself in a position when he’s going to need the players to rally alongside him and his son.”
Cash said the Porter family are not members of the Oasis Church, but as the Braves chaplain for many years before taking over as pastor of the Oasis Church, Cash has known Porter for a long time.
“Jeff is a tremendous guy – a salt of the earth kind of guy. This is such a tremendous loss to this family,” Cash said.
The accident happened on Memorial Drive on Saturday afternoon as the family was headed to the Chick-fil-A Bowl in downtown Atlanta. Wright said the crash occurred when the trooper was traveling westbound on Memorial Drive with lights and siren activated en route to the assist.
“At the intersection, the patrol car collided with a Ford Expedition that was northbound on Capitol Avenue, hitting the Expedition on the passenger's side. The Expedition then struck a utility pole,” Wright said in the report, adding that Kathy Porter, 54, a passenger in the Expedition, died in the crash. “The trooper was also taken to Grady to be examined and has been released. He has been placed on administrative leave.”
Wright said the accident is being investigated by the Georgia State Patrol and its Specialized Collision Reconstruction Team, as well as the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Fulton County District Attorney's Office.
Cash asked that people keep the trooper involved in the crash in their prayers as well. He has been identified by the GSP as Trooper First Class Donald Crozier, a 10-year veteran.
“This was a tragedy in every way. My heart goes out to the Georgia State Patrol guy and his family too,” Cash said. “From everything I’ve heard about him, he is an outstanding officer – just a very tragic situation. It just shows, we never know what is going to happen. Jeff and his family are going to have to get used to a new normal now and that trooper and his family – it’s tragic for them too. All of them are going to be emotionally drained by this.”
Tracy Lee, an officer with the Gwinnett County Sheriff's Department, is Porter's neighbor. He too expressed his condolenses to the family.
"What a sad situation. They are such a good family," Lee said. "Mr. Porter has done a lot for the kids in Loganville also."
The Braves issued the following statement on their website Saturday after hearing of the accident.
"The Braves family is deeply saddened and shocked to learn about the tragic accident today involving the family of Head Athletic Trainer Jeff Porter and the death of his wife, Kathy. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Jeff and Kathy's family, their son David and all their friends and loved ones."