Miranda Prescott, News Editor
A student at Jacksonville State University died in a car accident in Wellington on Sunday.
Savanna Carson Lynch was pronounced dead at 5:48 p.m. after a car hit her from behind on U.S. 431, causing her own vehicle to cross the median, flip and eject her, according to Calhoun County Coroner Pat Brown.
Lynch was a communication major at JSU, pursuing a concentration in public relations from the university. She leaves behind a young daughter, Tala, her boyfriend and her mother, Sandy Duval, who has worked as the JSU band secretary for 20 years as of this month, according to Ken Bodiford, the JSU director of bands.
“When Sandy accepted the job of JSU Band Secretary as a single mother, Savanna was just a toddler,” said Bodiford in a social media post. “Over the years, I have observed a bond of love between a mother and daughter like none that I have witnessed before. Savanna always had the ability to brighten up a room with her beautiful smile, magnetic personality, and witty sense of humor. My heart is broken for Savanna’s mother, Sandy Duval, her young daughter Tala, and her boyfriend, Billy.”
Bodiford said that Savanna “practically grew up around The Marching Southerners.” He recalled when she was a child and the JSU Go-Gos dance line made a uniform for her.
“She was their adorable little mascot,” Bodiford added. “She was a source of positive light in this world that will be greatly missed.”
Damian Gaiters, a former JSU Marching Southerner and current director of bands at Lithia Springs High School in Georgia, is a family friend and said that his most vivid memory of Savanna was performances with the JSU Hard Corps and the Go-Gos.
“I worked closely with Sandy in the band office and became close to both she and Savanna,” said Gaiters.
A GoFundMe was created in the wake of Savanna’s death. This fundraiser is to help raise funds for the care of her daughter, Tala, who is now in the primary care of Duval.
The fundraiser reached its initial goal of $10,000 within the first eight hours and more donations have been made on top of that. As of Thursday morning, the GoFundMe has received over $15,000 in donations.
“This GoFundMe page has been established to assist Sandy and Billy in continuing the dream that Savanna started: a dream making a better life for her child,” the GoFundMe page reads. “We ask that you help us make this dream come true for someone who has given so much to all of us.”
Julie Williams Cain, a Southerners almuna who now manages a law firm, created the GoFundMe.
“It is important that our JSU family now support Sandy in her time of need,” said Cain by email on Tuesday. “My office assistant, Beth Merrit, who is also a JSU Marching Southerners alumni, was onboard from the beginning and she has been instrumental in creating the account. We set an initial goal and there has been an overwhelming response, so we have increased that goal and there really is no limit as the funds will all be needed and appreciated.”