COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - A Columbus State University student-athlete passed away over the weekend following a car crash.
According to a CSU email sent to students, faculty and staff Tuesday morning, freshman Ethan Rutledge, 19, died following involvement in a single-car accident Saturday north of Loganville, GA, his hometown.
According to the Rockdale, (GA) Citizen, state law enforcement agencies said Rutledge was traveling on Highway 81 when he "failed to negotiate a curve, left the roadway and struck several trees."
News Leader 9's Jenyne Donaldson confirmed with Georgia State Patrol that Rutledge crashed his 2010 Honda Accord in Walton County, GA.
Following the accident, Rutledge was taken via medical helicopter to Atlanta Medical Center, where he died on Sunday. GSP also reports that Rutledge was not driving recklessly, nor was he impaired or text messaging at the time of the crash.
Rutledge was a member of CSU's cheerleading team, and a biology major. He was also a long-time competitive cheerleader, listed as a member of Future Extreme on the Atlanta Cheer website for 2013.
The cheer group the Cheer Extreme Sharks shared their condolences of Rutledge's passing on Twitter since Saturday.
Friends and CSU classmates, as well as fellow cheerleading squads, have rallied around lifting Rutledge's memory following his death. On social media, loved ones have began using #EthanStrong to show their love for the popular young man.
No funeral plans have been announced, but CSU announced via the email that university counselors and others have been with Rutledge's family and teammates since Saturday.
According to the Georgia Department of Public Safety, there were 19 fatal traffic-related deaths this year in Georgia over the Thanksgiving holiday period, from Nov. 26 at 6 p.m. to Sunday, Nov. 30 at midnight. There were 10 Thanksgiving holiday deaths last year.