Three 911 calls reveal harrowing details of ‘American Idol’ star Willie Spence’s horrific car crash
JASPER, TENNESSEE: 'American Idol' season 19 runner-up Willie Spence tragically died in a car crash on Tuesday afternoon, October 11, after he drove his SUV off a highway and collided with the back of a parked tractor-trailer. According to Fox News, it was revealed on Thursday, October 13, that three separate emergency calls were placed in 911 audio which was obtained by the outlet after the runner-up's horrific car accident.
Lt Bobby Clevenger told that Spence was declared dead on arrival. "The medical examiner was called from the scene," he said. A witness who saw Spence's 2019 Jeep Cherokee move from the left to the right of the highway made the first 911 call. "There's a big truck sitting on the shoulder, on the right shoulder. And that car switched lanes from the left all the way to that shoulder and slapped in the back of that truck," the witness told dispatch.
A witness told the operator in a second 911 call that a "car impacted a semi-trailer." The witness told the dispatcher that he was unable to see the number of people injured in the accident as he was not able to access the front part of the car. They relayed, unfortunately, that "the front half of the car is completely under the trailer." A third emergency call was placed to make sure that the emergency crews were on the way.
The 68-year-old driver of the tractor-trailer was left uninjured as he and another driver of the same trailer wore their seatbelts at the time of the accident. No charges are currently pending at this time. ON Wednesday, October 14, Spence's family held a press conference outside his grandmother's house in Rivera Beach. The family told that they are devastated and heartbroken to lose the talented singer at such a young age. "Willie was our gentle giant. He had such a soft demeanor but a very, very powerful voice", said Spence's cousin Sabrena Cooper. "When he opened his mouth and lifted the Lord in song, many would just stop in their tracks to listen to him. Now Willie is in heaven, singing the lead in the heaven's choir."
"American Idol" judges - Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie paid their respects on social media after the 23-year-old died. "I love you Willie … purest soul. Sing with the angels my darling," Perry, 37 commented on "American Idol's" official statement on Spence's death. It was shared to the CBS show's Instagram page. The statement read, "We are devastated about the passing of our beloved American Idol family member, Willie Spence. He was a true talent who lit up every room he entered and will be deeply missed. We send our condolences to his loved ones."
"Willie really did light up every room he walked into. He could change the mood instantly when he started singing", Bryan, 46, tweeted.
Willie really did light up every room he walked into. He could change the mood instantly when he started singing. He will truly be missed. https://t.co/XTqm65UJu0— Luke Bryan (@lukebryan) October 12, 2022
"He will truly be missed." A clip of Spence performing on the show was shared by Richie to his Instagram page. "Your light will always shine in this world," the 73-year-old singer wrote in the caption. "We were so blessed to get a chance to see you shine. My thoughts and prayers are with Willie’s family. Rest well my friend."
"Everybody on and off set loved him. @Williespence you'll be deeply missed," host Ryan Seacrest wrote, adding a broken-hearted emoji. Spence who certainly had a very bright future ahead, was a participant in the 19th season of the reality singing competition. The judges and common people were amazed to see his impeccable singing skills but he lost in the finals to country singer Chayce Beckham. Beckham, 26, paid tribute to Spence with an emotional Instagram post in which he wrote that the singer was a "good sweet soul, and a warm beam of light" who he "loved very much."
"I can't wait to sing with you in Paradise, where I know I'll see you again. Rest In Peace brother," Beckham said.