One of the victims killed in an accident in Atlanta early Sunday morning is the sister of Quacy Barnes-Timmons, a former coach for the Lady Cougars at Columbus State University and current coach of the women's basketball team at Tuskegee University.
The vehicle was traveling on Campbellton Road in southwest Atlanta when the incident occurred, according Atlanta police. The driver lost control before the vehicle struck a utility pole and burst into flames. The three occupants were partially ejected and died at the scene.
Barnes-Timmons’ sister, Joi Whaley, 36, was among the dead, according to the police report. Barnes-Timmons said Whaley was visiting two hometown friends at the time of her death.
The two friends, Michael Nichols, of Douglasville, Ga., and Stacey McCree, of Atlanta, also died at the scene. Nichols was the driver of the vehicle, according to police.
All three victims were from Benton Harbor, Michigan, where Whaley remained a resident, said Barnes-Timmons in an interview with the Ledger-Enquirer. She leaves behind four children, ages 17, 16, 13, and 11.
“My world has just been rocked,” Barnes-Timmons said from Benton Harbor, while making funeral arrangements. “But as the next to oldest sibling you feel like you have to put your emotions aside enough to be able to help your mom, your dad, and fight for the children and make sure they’re taken care of in the wake of this incident.”
Barnes-Timmons said it was her sister’s first trip to Georgia, and she was scheduled to attend a Tuskegee women's basketball game on Monday.
Barnes-Timmons and her husband, Desmond Timmons, a former CSU basketball player and current manager of FDR Park, also had plans to meet Whaley Sunday for dinner. The couple lives in Pine Mountain and wanted Whaley to see FDR Park, Barnes-Timmons said, but they decided to meet half-way in Newnan.
“My sister is a mother of four and a care-giver for my father so she really didn’t venture far away from home,” she said. “The trip, I’m sure, appeared to be for her very appealing and very relaxing.”
When Barnes-Timmons tried calling Whaley Sunday and couldn’t reach her, she and her husband checked online and learned about the crash. It took authorities several days to identify the bodies.
“Prior to the collision, a vehicle matching the description of the one involved in the crash, passed an officer parked at a gas station on Campbellton Rd,” according to police. “The officer stated the vehicle appeared to be traveling at excessive speeds.”
Barnes-Timmons said Whaley’s funeral will be held Saturday. Friends have started a GoFundMe page to help with funeral expenses, and relatives set up two bank accounts for donations to help support Whaley’s children.
To donate, go to https://www.gofundme.com/family-support-for-sonia-wright.