Austin Rainey, a sophomore student manager for the Charlotte 49ers men’s basketball team and former Chapel Hill High football player, was killed in an auto accident Friday on Virginia’s eastern shore.
Rainey, 19, was on a weekend road trip with friends 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.
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, a wide receiver and defensive lineman for Chapel Hill High, played his last season for the school in 2013 and graduated in 2014. He had recently transferred from East Carolina to UNC Charlotte. He was also an avid supporter of North Carolina Tar Heels sports.
“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 Friday at 11:30 a.m. at St. Thomas More Catholic Church in Chapel Hill Friday.