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3 University of South Carolina Upstate Student-Athletes Die in Car Crash

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistOctober 12, 2015

PARIS, FRANCE - MAY 27:  A detailed view of the net during day four of the 2015 French Open at Roland Garros on May 27, 2015 in Paris, France.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Julian Finney/Getty Images

Three University of South Carolina Upstate student-athletes died early Sunday morning in a car accident that killed another student and left one more hospitalized.

Cross-country runner Joshua Lee, 20, soccer player James Campbell, 21, and tennis player Sarah Vande Berg, 21, were all killed when the car they were traveling in veered off the road, hitting a tree and catching on fire, according to Corey Davis of WYFF4.com. Spartanburg County Coroner Rusty Clevenger said three of the passengers died at the scene, while one more died at the hospital. 

“If you knew Josh, you knew love. If you knew my son, you knew laughter,” his mother, Laurie Lee, said.  “Josh loved his family with all his heart and he treasured his teammates as family.”

“He was a proud to be a Spartan,” said Johnny Lee, the student's father.

Campbell, who helped J.L. Mann High School win the 2012 4A State Championship, transferred to USC Upstate in January 2015. His father, Shawn, said he "always had a smile on his face."

"He just loved life and he loved people,” Shawn Campbell said.

Vande Berg, the tennis player, was described as a "Disney fanatic" who dreamed of working at the so-called happiest place on Earth.

“Sarah was a wonderful daughter,” said her father Todd Vande Berg. “She had an outgoing personality and she truly loved people. Sarah went to all the athletic events at USC Upstate to show support for all the sports.

"We witnessed her love for her fellow student athletes and their amazing support for her when we attended her tennis match two weeks ago. There were athletes from cross country, basketball and volleyball at Sarah’s tennis match.”

The surviving student is in stable condition.

Spokeswoman Tammy Whaley told WYFF the university would be reaching out the school community and others affected by the deaths.

"It's a tremendous loss for our university community," Whaley said.

A candlelight vigil will be held at the soccer stadium Monday evening.

Quotes and bio courtesy of USCUpstate.edu.

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