STATESBORO, Ga. (WSAV) – Carter David Payne, a defender on Tormenta FC’s USL 2 team, has passed away after being involved in a driver-pedestrian car accident.
“Payne was a tremendous athlete, teammate and friend, and he will be sorely missed by everyone involved at the club,” said a statement released by the team late Saturday night.
The accident occurred on Friday night on Fair Road in Statesboro. Payne was riding a Lime scooter on the shoulder of the road when the driver of a vehicle collided with him in a hit-and-run. Statesboro Police and Georgia State Patrol both responded to the scene. An investigation into the accident is ongoing.
Payne was taken to Memorial Health: Southeast Georgia Hospital for treatment before succumbing to his injuries Saturday night.
“It was a vicious moment and a tough one,” said Tormenta FC team owner Darin Van Tassell. “We spent most of the day yesterday being very hopeful.”
The club first acknowledged the accident in a statement posted to Twitter at 11:10 a.m. on Saturday.
The Tormenta 2 team was scheduled for a home match against SC United Bantams on Friday, but that match did not happen because of the weather. They are scheduled to play one final match on Tuesday on the road.
After Tormenta FC’s USL 1 team scored a 2-1 victory against the Chattanooga Red Wolves on Saturday, all three Tormenta teams – first, second and women’s – met from approximately 10:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. to commemorate Payne’s life alongside front office personnel and support staff. His teammates remember him most for his infectious, positive personality
“The guy had a smile that would light up a room,” said Van Tassell. “I remember the first day at practice, I saw him and he was wearing an Allen Iverson headband and we all laughed about that.”
“We’re mourning and grieving and finding those windows to channel that into a very active season. Carter’s very close to his teammates, whether they played on the first team, the second team or the women’s side. These are tough moments and none of us get very much practice in this.”
Payne was a defender that hailed from Phoenix, Arizona and played soccer at University of Michigan. He had aspirations to make Tormenta’s first team and sign a professional contract.
“When the people around you are impacted as much as Carter’s death has hit us, that’s one of your ultimate signs of legacy and that’s my takeaway,” Van Tassell said.
The Ibis Foundation, a nonprofit aligned with Tormenta FC, has established a scholarship fund in Payne’s honor.