Austin Rainey, a student manager for the Charlotte 49ers men’s basketball team, was killed in an auto accident Friday in northern Virginia.
Rainey, 19, a sophomore from Chapel Hill, was on a weekend trip to Washington, D.C., when the accident happened.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Rainey family during this difficult time,” said 49ers coach Mark Price. “Austin was a beloved member of the 49ers basketball family. His uplifting presence will be greatly missed.”
According to the Delmarva Daily Times, Rainey was the backseat passenger in a 2000 Chevrolet van driven by Matthew W. Dee, 20, of Mooresville. Linda D. Stevens, 63, of Accomac, Va., was charged with failure to yield the right of way after the 2006 Ford F-150 pickup truck she was driving turned onto Route 13 in the path of the van.
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As the van’s occupants attempted to exit it after the initial crash, the van was struck by a 2005 Freightliner tractor-trailer traveling north on the highway. Rainey was killed upon impact. Four other occupants were able to get out of the van safely.
Rainey had recently transferred to UNC Charlotte from East Carolina. He was also an avid supporter of North Carolina Tar Heels sports and had a large baseball card collection.
“He had one of the biggest hearts and he will always be like a little brother to me,” Walter Holt, an East Carolina student who close friends with Rainey, wrote to the Observer in an email.
Holt said he still wears an “I Am Second” wristband that Rainey gave him three years ago.
“He always reminded me to live life through Christ,” said Holt.
Rainey’s funeral will be at St. Thomas More Catholic Church in Chapel Hill next Friday, February 26 at 11:30 a.m.