2 Spelman Students Die in Separate Car Accidents Less Than a Week Apart

Princess Yates and Erica Lanier (WXIA screenshot)

Two young, ambitious women of Spelman College died in two separate accidents last week, one of which has seen another former Spelman student charged in the death.

Rising senior Erica Lanier of Stone Mountain, Ga., died after a car accident Wednesday.


The driver, Alexis Sims, was charged with first-degree vehicular homicide and DUI, according to WXIA 11Alive. Police report that Sims was speeding, lost control, and crashed into a utility pole and fence. Sims remains hospitalized.

Sims graduated from Spelman two years ago. According to WSB-TV, Lanier’s cousin said that Sims and Lanier were best friends and that the family is not mad at the driver. They’re praying for a speedy recovery.


Lanier majored in education studies at Spelman and founded Gifted Girls of Grace, a teen mentoring program. The dancer was part of the Morehouse “Mahogany-n-Motion” dance team and performed at halftime shows.


Across the world, 19-year-old Princess Yates died in a car wreck July 21 in Monrovia, Liberia. 11Alive reports that she had withdrawn from Spelman, where she had been pursuing a double major in engineering and environmental science, and was in the country to celebrate her grandmother’s 90th birthday.


Her death was doubly heartbreaking in that, according to several eyewitnesses, the Staten Island, N.Y., native was refused treatment at the hospital because “she had no money on her.”

There are two currently two fundraisers going to help bring Yates’ body home to the U.S.


Read more at 11Alive and WSB-TV.

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Angela Helm

Ms. Bronner Helm is a Contributing Editor at The Root. Mouthy Black Girl. Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Fellow. Shea Butter Feminist. Virgo Sun, Aries Moon.