Lutzenkirchen’s legacy extends into Tuscaloosa

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) – Former Auburn University football stand-out, Philip Lutzenkirchen was killed in a single-vehicle crash in LaGrange, Georgia early Sunday morning.  According to the Georgia State Patrol, the crash happened around 3:05 am at the intersection of Upper Big Springs Road and Lower Big Springs Road.  The 2006 Chevrolet Tahoe that Lutzenkirchen was riding in failed to stop at a stop sign and ran through a church yard, flipping several times before landing on the hood.

The Auburn community has been hit hard by the news of the popular player’s death.  Shortly after word began to travel across social media, around 50 Auburn football fans rolled Toomer’s Corner in remembrance of the school’s record-holding tight end.

AP Photo
AP Photo

However, the news has also impacted Auburn’s biggest rival in Tuscaloosa, the Crimson Tide.  “Grew up with it,” explains graduate student, Murphy Durrett, “you know, in football, when you play each other it’s a big deal, but when it comes to people and people’s lives, you know, it doesn’t really matter.”

Lutzenkirchen has even deeper ties to Tuscaloosa than a handful of fall football games.  His younger sister, Abby, is a current player for the UA Soccer team.  “I think everyone can come together on this,” says UA junior, Danielle DiPatre, “and just really support Abby’s family and just understand what a horrible time this must be for anyone who knows their family, whether they be Auburn or Alabama fans.”

Todd Bramble, head coach of the UA Women’s Soccer team, has a close relationship with the Lutzenkirchen family.  He says he will travel to Atlanta on Tuesday to hug Abby and be with all of the people who are supporting the family during such a sad time.

Bramble says he has met Philip on a number of occasions.  The Auburn football player was not shy about sitting in the Crimson Tide stands and cheering on his sister.  Bramble describes it at one of the closet sibling relationships that he has ever seen.  He also spoke of the kindness and generosity that Philip seemed to exude.  He mentioned that he hated to use the same words that so many people had already used to describe Lutzenkirchen, so Bramble settled for this, “Almost every time I interacted with him, I left that interaction thinking–cause I’ve got a son of my own–thinking, man: I hope one day when my son grows up and he’s 22 or 23 years old, he acts like Philip Lutzenkirchen does.  I mean, that’s about the best compliment that I could pay to him.”

The driver, Joseph Ian Davis, was also killed in the crash.  Two other passengers, Elizabeth Ann Seaton Craig and Christian Tanner Case were both taken to West Georgia Medical Center.  Blood was also drawn from Davis to determine if alcohol impairment contributed to the accident.

Copyright 2014 WIAT 42 News

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