POOLER, Ga. — A campaign staff member for U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler was killed in a four-vehicle crash near Savannah, Georgia, on Friday, police confirmed.
Harrison Thomas Deal, 20, of Bulloch County, was killed in a fiery collision on Interstate 16 in Pooler, WSAV reported. Deal’s death was confirmed by the Pooler Police Department.
The crash occurred several hours before a campaign rally in Savannah for Loeffler, R-Georgia, and fellow Republican Sen. David Perdue, according to WSAV. Both senators are involved in runoff elections against Democratic opponents that will decide the balance of power in the U.S. Senate. Loeffler and Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, who is a family friend of Deal, skipped the rally. Vice President Mike Pence attended the event at the Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport, the television station reported.
The pileup occurred around 10 a.m., WSAV reported. Police said there were no other serious injuries.
Four vehicles were involved in the accident, WJHL reported. They were a flat-bed truck carrying steel, two smaller vehicles and one tractor-trailer, the television station reported. Three of those vehicles were engulfed in flames by the time firefighters arrived at the scene.
“It is with an extremely heavy heart that we mourn the loss of Harrison Deal,” Loeffler said in a statement. “My heart aches for his family, and Jeff and I will continue to surround them in love and prayer in the days ahead. Harrison was a beloved member of our campaign team. More importantly, Harrison was a smart, bright, loving, loyal and outstanding young man. Harrison embodied the very best of this campaign -- and the very best of our state. We will forever cherish and honor Harrison’s memory, and I ask every Georgian to join us in praying for his family during this difficult time.”
Kemp tweeted a statement and photograph of his family with Deal.
Perdue also issued a statement, saying he was “devastated” by the news and noted that Deal had interned for him during the summer of 2019.
“Harrison was a smart, kind young man with a bright future ahead of him, and he is gone too soon,” Perdue said. “We are praying for his parents, Curt and Jenni Deal, and his sisters, Hannah and Halli. I ask the people of Georgia to join us in keeping the entire Deal family in their hearts on this terrible day.”