Gwinnett County high school cheerleader killed in crash; the driver was arrested on DUI charges

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. – Mill Creek High School in Gwinnett County is mourning the loss of one of its students after a car accident over the weekend.

The Mill Creek Cheer Team posted Sunday afternoon that one of their junior cheerleaders, 16-year-old Caitlyn Pollock, died in the accident the night before.

The driver, 21-year-old Kyle McDowell, is now facing charges.

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please stop our program in your thoughts and prayers. We lost junior cheerleader, Caitlyn Pollock, in a car accident last night. Please also pray for her family and friends during this difficult time.

Gwinnett County Police said Pollock was a passenger in McDowell’s car when he failed to navigate the entrance ramp to state Route 316, hitting a concrete barrier.

McDowell was taken to the hospital with minor injuries. He was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, failure to maintain lane, and first degree vehicular manslaughter.

Channel 2’s Elizabeth Rawlins was at Mill Creek High School on Monday, where it was a very gloomy day. Students and teachers held a moment of silence to reflect and remember their classmate.

Family spokeswoman Lori D’Adamio said Pollok was loved by everyone.

“She had a smile that just lit up the room and made you feel good,” D’Adamio said. “Life is precious and it can be taken away in an instant, and Caitlyn’s was taken away and it shouldn’t be.”

Rawlins spoke on camera with Pollock’s mother, who said she’s been getting calls and messages from people in counties she hasn’t heard from.

“How does my daughter know people in all these places?” she said. “Because Caitlyn knew everyone.”

It is still unclear how Pollock knew McDowell or where they were going.

Funeral arrangements are still pending.

Mill Creek High School Principal Jason Lane sent the letter below to the school community:

Dear Mill Creek High School parents and guardians,

It is with deep sadness that I inform you of the tragic loss of one of our Mill Creek High students over the weekend. Our hearts and thoughts are with the family, friends and acquaintances of the student as they cope with this tremendous personal loss. On Monday we will have a special moment of silence in memory of our student, classmate and friend.

This loss can raise many emotions, concerns and questions from our school community, especially from some students. Counselors and social workers will be at our school on Monday to provide support, comfort and reassurance for students who need it. We wanted to make you aware of these plans for support and also the opportunity for you to talk to your child before they come to school on Monday.

Coping with death is hard, and it can be very challenging for kids in high school. If you find that your child needs help or want to talk to someone about this situation, do not hesitate to contact the school, as our school counselors are well trained to help children with such complex issues. In addition, below, you will find tips that can help you at home if your student is having a hard time with this loss.

Police have not released any details about the accident. Channel 2 has reached out to Gwinnett Police for the accident reports.

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