Drive Safer Nov. 29 in Memory of Cullum Owings ’03

Cullum Owings

On the Sunday following Thanksgiving in 2002, Cullum and Pierce Owings were driving from their home in Atlanta back to Lexington where both were students at Washington and Lee. The brothers were three miles from the Lexington exit on I-81 north when their car was struck from behind by a tractor-trailer. Cullum, a senior business administration major, died in the accident; Pierce ’06, a freshman at the time, had only minor injuries. Sunday, Nov. 29, will mark the fifth annual national observance of Drive Safer Sunday in America. The event is sponsored by Road Safe America, an organization founded by Cullum and Pierce’s parents, Stephen and Susan Owings of Atlanta, in Cullum’s honor. The organization is designed to bring awareness of the hazards of highway travel and provide statistics and safety tips to drivers. Its goals include better driver training for all drivers and limiting the top speed for large trucks. The Road Safe America Web site includes an electronic petition, urging the administration to order activation of speed governors set at 65 mph on all large commercial vehicles. The site also features a video in which the Owingses tell their story. Be careful on the highways this holiday.

3 Responses to “Drive Safer Nov. 29 in Memory of Cullum Owings ’03”


  1. 1 Laura Perry, '97 November 22, 2009 at 4:22 pm

    It’s very difficult to learn how fragile life can be. W&L is a wonderful treasure and the students consistently pull together and around each other in good times and tough times– W&L traditions like that one are strong and carey on LONG AFTER college.
    My thoughts are with the Owings, especially with Pierce. I know myself how hard it is to see good, when you can’t find a good answer for “Why?”, but Cullum leaves a wonderful legacy. Pierce will have a tremendous W&L support network and Cullum will still be so proud

  2. 2 beau dudley November 20, 2009 at 8:00 pm

    A huge W&L tragedy involving a wonderful family. We remember and think of the Owings as the anniversary of the accident arrives. God Bless all of them.

    • 3 John Gunn November 21, 2009 at 2:43 pm

      I didn’t have the privilege of knowing Cullum Owings in person but I feel I have come to know him through knowing his parents, his brother, and his special friend, and from reading portions of his diary. This was a young man who surely would have become the kind of community leader who would bring great credit to Washington and Lee, as well as to his own community.

      Here at W&L we celebrate his life continuously in a highly constructive way, in the S. Cullum Owings ’03 Fellowship, awarded each year to one or two students to participate in the Initiative for Academic Integrity in Secondary Schools of the W&L Institute for Honor.

      Let us celebrate it also by driving safely ourselves and by
      seeking to promote safe driving throughout our country.

      John Gunn ’45


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