(Jesup, Georgia – January 6, 2013)
An 18-year-old standout senior basketball player at Wayne County High School in Jesup, GA, who was considered a top college prospect, was killed early Saturday afternoon at about 1:10 P.M. as he crossed a Norfolk Southern Railway overpass across U.S. Highway 84 in Jesup while he was walking toward his school for a 2:00 P.M. team departure for a game at Coffee County High School in Douglas, GA.
Shaquile Eugene Morgan was walking and allegedly wearing headphones when he was overtaken by the NS train headed in the same direction. The locomotive engineer blew the locomotive’s horn and applied the emergency brakes while the train’s conductor ran out on the engine’s front deck and yelled in an attempt to warn Morgan. The victim then looked back, saw the oncoming train and tried to get off the track, but fell and was struck by the train, according to Wayne County Sheriff John Carter. Carter added that people who live in the area frequently use the railroad trestle to cross U.S. 84 rather than at a highway intersection.
“He was one of our basketball players, a rather good one at that,” lamented the sheriff.
The young man’s death hit the local law enforcement community hard, as Shaquile was the son of Jesup Police Dept. detective Lt. Perry Morgan.
“This is real devastating, I’m still in disbelief,” stammered WCHS Basketball Coach Robert Cotton. “He was the chief of the team and he’s going to be truly missed – not only as a ballplayer, but just as that person, that spirit we had on the team. He was a leader on and off the floor.”
“This is the worst feeling, I’ve never felt this pain before,” sobbed teammate Jaleel Lorquet. “I’m speechless, it’s tragic…”
In the wake of the tragedy, the Wayne County Yellowjackets postponed their scheduled Saturday night game until January 12. Still on Christmas break until Wednesday, the school planned a release of white balloons in Morgan’s memory near the site of the tragedy Monday night at 5:00 P.M., and WCHS students plan on wearing bow ties at school Wednesday in honor of their classmate and teammate’s unique style.