Three Florida A&M University students were involved in a fatal car accident off Interstate 10, outside of Leon County. The 5:30 a.m. accident on Jan. 6 left two of the students injured and one dead.
Freshmen Antoine Gordon, 18, a business student from Bowie, Md.; Carlos Wilkins, 18, an architecture student from Washington, D.C.; and Cornell Wedge, 19, a journalism student from Suitland, Md., were driving back to campus from winter break when Wilkins fell asleep at the wheel.
Wilkins said once Wedge, who sat in the passenger seat, noticed Wilkins was asleep he tried to wake him.
However, with the semi truck that rode beside them as well as the constant nudge from Wedge, Wilkins was startled and lost control of the Ford Escort, according to a report given by the Florida Highway Patrol. The report stated the car veered off the road into a ravine and hit three trees, two of which split upon contact. Gordon, who was asleep in the backseat with no seatbelt, died on impact.
Prior to the accident, Gordon’s mother said she sensed the group was tired and insisted they pull over and rest before continuing to campus. Instead of taking a break, the three students decided to continue driving.
Wilkins relived this event with apparent sorrow.
“I could have still been hanging out with them right now if we had listened to Antoine’s mother,” Wilkins said. “I feel like Antoine’s mother calling us was a sign from God. I miss Antoine and I will always keep him in memory. I’m sorry for what happened.”
The three accident victims were active members of the DC Metro Club and were like family to one another. Their close ties were noticeable to students on campus. Many people said Wilkins should not be blamed for the accident.
Jlyssa Lane, 18, a freshman business administration student from San Jose, Calif., spoke positively of Wilkins.
“Things happen; this could have happened to anybody,” Lane said. “He didn’t plan to fall asleep. It’s not fair to put blame on him when he lost his friend and is coping with his [Antoine’s] death.”
At the present time, Wedge is at an undisclosed hospital in Jacksonville, and Wilkins is tending to his various wounds. Both had several injuries.
“Cornell broke his neck, shoulder and foot…I got a few bruises on my leg, a bruise on my head and a few more scratches and bumps from shattered glass and from when the roof of the car crashed down on us,” Wilkins said.
While students have been mourning over the accident and the death of Gordon, the Student Government Association, the DC Metro Club and the FAMU administration have been trying to organize a candlelight vigil in memory of Gordon.
However, Gordon’s family has postponed the vigil until further notice. Alysha Graves, Gordon’s sister, said she is genuinely thankful for the support the family has received from the University.
“I would have to say that it is sincerely appreciated on me and my family’s behalf,” Graves said. “Thank you for showing so much love and support.”