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Effingham County mourns Lee
Demonte Lee Actionx
A standout football and basketball player, Demonte Lee was killed in a motorcycle accident on Saturday in Springfield. Lee, 18, graduated from Effingham County High in May. - photo by File photo

SPRINGFIELD — Family, friends and all of Effingham County High School continue to mourn the sudden and tragic passing of Demonte Lee.
The 18-year-old, who graduated in May from Effingham High, was killed Saturday, July 6 when struck by a car as he rode a motorcycle in Springfield.
Lee played football and basketball for the Rebels. On the gridiron, he lined up on both sides of the ball – free safety and running back. In his senior campaign, Lee led the team in tackles with 57, including five tackles for loss and one interception.
Head Coach Buddy Holder described Lee as a quality young man, a talented player and reminisced on his contributions in a big game last season against Statesboro.
“He was an extremely skilled athlete on both sides of the ball for our team,” said Holder. “He led our team in tackles as a free safety. He helped catapult our team from a huge deficit against Statesboro this past season with several exceptional plays. His smile and personality will be missed by all of our football family.”
Georgia State Patrol reports state Lee was operating a 2007 Yamaha motorcycle without a helmet. He was heading southbound on Kildee Lane, on which he lived, heading southbound when a 2013 Nissan Versa approached from the opposite direction, heading north.
The car was driven by Angelica Maria Contreras, 22, also of Kildee Lane. Contreras made a left turn into Lee’s path, striking his motorcycle.
The motorcycle skidded and struck a utility pole. The Sheriff's Department and EMS responded and Lifestar was requested but was unable to fly due to area thunderstorms. Lee was treated en route to Memorial Hospital, but died from cardiac arrest from his injuries.
Contreras was not immediately charged, but charges are pending an investigation by the GSP Troop I Specialized Collision Reconstruc-tion Team.
Zebrandon Gant, Effingham’s leading rusher from a year ago, played alongside Lee, and he too remembers his showstopping performance against the Blue Devils. Gant also reflected on Lee’s leadership and his ability to make everyone around him better.
“He was a great leader on and off the field,” Gant said. “He was so competitive at everything he did and by him being like that he didn’t just make himself better he made the next man better and then overall making the team better. It was hard to not like him, and I’ll never forget when he (hurdled) the kid from Statesboro and we can back and won the game.”
But Gant, who is also Lee’s cousin, has memories of the star athlete off the field. Gant remembers their high school graduation ceremony on May 25 where they embraced each other and relished in the moment of finally being high school graduates.
“My fondest moment of him would be after graduation,” said Gant. “Me, Mario and Demonte met and we all gave each other a hug and said we finally did it and laughed and took pictures,” Gant said.
Demario Gant also remembered his friend on Monday.
"He was always encouraging, always positive,” Gant said. “He was just a good friend, always checking up on everybody.”
He said Lee's love for the game was contagious and all he liked to do was play the game. He also loved playing sports games and going to the YMCA.
Lee was known by a nickname – Doodha. In fact, Gant said he knew Lee as Doodha long before knowing him as Demonte. A memorial T Shirt was made featuring Lee on the front with the phrase, "Long Live Doodha" on the back. Coach Buddy Holder said that jerseys worn by Lee will be given to his family.
Funeral arrangements will be announced by Smalls Funeral Home in Guyton.