Hancock County

Friends, Hancock High grads killed in Lakeshore crash were moving back home

COURTESY TEVIN CRAWFORDAja Crawford, left, and her close friend Lauren Bailey, are shown having fun. They were killed in a crash Sunday in the Lakeshore community.
COURTESY TEVIN CRAWFORDAja Crawford, left, and her close friend Lauren Bailey, are shown having fun. They were killed in a crash Sunday in the Lakeshore community.

HANCOCK COUNTY -- The 20-year-old women killed in a crash Sunday night in the Lakeshore community had packed the car with their belongings and were moving back home from Hattiesburg to be closer to their families.

Aja Crawford and Lauren Bailey were heading to see Crawford's brother at his girlfriend's home when they crashed about 9:20 p.m.

"Lauren had just gotten a kitten and she wanted to know if I could babysit it," Tevin Crawford said.

"I think they just couldn't see the road in the dark," he said.

Tevin Crawford said his big sister and her close friend had called him 20 minutes earlier to get the address of his girlfriend's house and better directions.

"They weren't familiar with that part of the road," Tevin Crawford said.

"It was dark, the trees are tall and the road has some sharp corners. The one that turns into my girlfriend's house is almost invisible, especially in the dark."

The young women, 2013 graduates of Hancock High, had moved to Hattiesburg to live together but decided to "come home," he said. Aja Crawford had taken some classes at the University of Southern Mississippi but wasn't currently enrolled.

When the women didn't show up with the kitten, Tevin Crawford began calling them.

"I kept calling and calling," he said. "I got no answer."

His girlfriend's mother had called to say two people had been killed in an accident on Lower Bay Road.

"I put two and two together," Tevin Crawford said.

"I told a little white lie to my Grandma. I woke her up and told her we were going to a gas station to pick Aja up."

"We drove down there, and I saw it was Lauren car's," he said.

Sheriff's officials have said Bailey apparently lost control of her car in a sharp curve near Old Lower Bay Road, veered into the other lane and collided with a pickup truck.

The women died in the crash, along with the kitten. The other driver wasn't seriously injured.

Tevin Crawford said it's still hard to believe.

"Aja was more than my sister," he said.

"She was my best friend. We were like a team. She's the one who taught me how to tie my shoes and spell my name. She always had an encouraging word. She stood by me and she tried to help me better myself."

He said his family was discussing funeral arrangements Tuesday.

He wasn't sure about funeral arrangements for Bailey but said he's been talking to Bailey's brother.

He said her parents were in the Dominican Republic on vacation when they learned of the deaths.

Hancock County High has posted condolences to both families on the school website.

English teacher Amanda Pidgeon has said the young women had been close friends in school. She said Aja Crawford in particular was well known for her outgoing nature, her theatrical work and performances in school plays.

Pidgeon had taught Aja Crawford in 10th grade English. She described her as "beautiful" and "extremely intelligent."

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