A week to the day after being critically injured by a speeding and possibly impaired driver in a crash on Ocean Boulevard, a St. Simons Island couple died within hours of each other Saturday at a Savannah hospital, family and friends have confirmed.
Donna Lalley, 50, and Kent Lalley, 57, had been in critical condition since being flown to Memorial Health University Medical Center in Savannah following the crash on the afternoon of June 1. The Georgia State Patrol said Jade McCray was speeding excessively on Ocean Boulevard near 7th Street when the 2010 Camaro she was driving slammed into the northbound Dodge Caravan in which Donna Lalley was driving with her husband as a passenger.
McCray, 28, of Waycross, and her 25-year-old passenger, Callie Dean of Blackshear, died at the scene. State patrol trooper first class Sean Fagan said McCray and Dean had just left the beach and added, “we do suspect impairment” in the crash.
The Lalleys leave behind a son, Alex, 21, and a daughter, Janelle, 20. The public is invited to a memorial service for the Lalleys at 11 a.m. Monday, June 17, at First Baptist Church on St. Simons Island, said Pastor Tony Lankford. The Lalleys attended First Baptist. The Lalleys will be interred at later date in their hometown of Somerset, Pa., he said.
“This is really for our community to come together and mourn two members of the community we have lost, but also to celebrate their lives,” Lankford said.
The Lalleys fell in love with St. Simons Island on a visit here from their hometown several years ago. With Alex and Janelle out of high school, they made the decision about two years ago to follow their dream of living on island time, Lankford said. Donna Lalley worked for the Brunswick-Glynn Joint Water and Sewer Commission and Kent Lalley worked at the Kut Kwick commercial lawnmower manufacturing company in Brunswick, Lankford said.
“They were delightful and pleasant people,” Lankford said. “A handful of years ago they visited here and said to each other, ‘I would love to live here.’ I admired them because they had a dream and the guts to do something about it. Their kids were college age, and they were ready for some adventure so they moved to St. Simons Island. They were just immensely kind people and they had a genuine love for one another.”
Evidence at the scene indicates Donna Lalley was driving at the 25 mph speed limit when the Camaro came speeding at them June 1 at about 5:53 p.m., the state patrol said. A resident who saw the Camaro seconds earlier farther north on Ocean Boulevard near Arnold Road told The News it was traveling between 70 and 80 mph. The state patrol said the Camaro was partially in the northbound lane as it bore down on the Lalleys. Donna Lalley tried to avoid the crash, but the Camaro collided with the front passenger side of their Caravan, the state patrol said.
Alex Lalley posted Saturday on Facebook that his mother had been “pronounced clinically brain dead” that morning at Memorial Health. She was being kept on life-support until her vital organs could be harvested for life-saving causes.
“The doctors said her organs and tissues will go toward helping 50-plus people,” Lankford said. “That is a lot of good for a lot of other people, and I hope it’s something that Alex and Janelle can hold onto.”
Later that evening, Alex and Janelle said goodbye to their father. “I had to make the painful decision to follow my dad’s wishes to not be hooked to a machine and to remove the ventilator system from my dad,” Alex shared on Facebook. “Even though their death pains me to the core, I know they are happy to be with each other in heaven.”
Kent Lalley had endured brain surgery in March to remove a tumor on his brain stem, Lankford said.
“He stood at the pulpit at church just a few months ago and gave beautiful testimony about surviving brain surgery,” Lankford said.
Alex Lalley is a junior at California University of Pennsylvania in California, Penn. Janelle is a dietician at a nursing home in Pennsylvania.
Donations for the Lalley family are being accepted at Advance Rehabilitation, 4204 Coral Park Drive, Brunswick, and at 212 Retreat Village, St. Simons Island. Monetary donations, cards and gift cards are being collected to aid the family. A GoFundMe page also has been set up for the family at https:// www.gofundme.com/lalley- family-support.
“Donna and Kent Lalley were not only my parents, but also my role models and best friends,” Alex Lalley posted on Facebook. “They were people I could come to for anything and they would be happy that I did even if it would get me in trouble as a teenager. I loved hanging out with them and vice versa. Every single second that I spent with them will be cherished for the rest of my life and forever.”