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Two Heritage graduates killed in crash on 285
Police: Racing may have caused double wreck
Brandon Phillips

Friends and family members mourned the loss of two Heritage High School graduates killed June 16 in a double car wreck on Interstate 285 that might have been caused by racing, according to police.

Brandon Phillips, 20, the driver of a Corvette, and Jordan Makanani, 18, the passenger, were both graduates of Heritage High School. Makanani had just graduated with the Class of 2009 and was headed to Georgia State University in the fall.

DeKalb police spokeswoman Bettina Durant said investigators were looking into the possibility that the Corvette and a Mustang were racing on I-285 heading north before the fatal crash around 7:55 p.m., which occurred between the Lawrenceville Highway and LaVista Road exits. The driver of the Corvette reportedly made a lane change and lost control of the vehicle, hitting a Lexus SUV and the guard rail.

The two in the SUV were injured and hospitalized at Grady Memorial Hospital. The SUV driver was released June 17 but the SUV passenger reportedly remained in serious condition as of June 17.

The driver of the Mustang came to police for questioning. Police reportedly don't believe the driver was involved in the crash but was a witness to the accident.

Phillips was described as "the most polite and kind 20-year-old I have ever known" on an online guestbook. His funeral was held June 18 at the Henry Funeral Home in Lithonia. He is survived by his parents, Jack and Susan Phillips of Stockbridge; maternal grandmother, Carol Bergen of Duluth; sister and brother-in-law, Kim and Jeff Moon of Social Circle; sister, Shannon Xuereb of Navarre, Fla.; brothers, Chris Phillips and Jay Phillips both of Stockbridge; aunt, Leslie Greer of Dublin; uncle, Wayne Phillips of Stockbridge.

Makanani, who was born and raised in Conyers, was remembered as the smiling middle sister of three siblings who was into the latest music and spent much time together with her siblings.

"She was shy, but she was always smiling," said Makanani’s older sister Kyley. "She always had a smile on her face."

"She was the best little sister anybody could ask of her. She did anything I ever asked of her. If I ever wanted cupcakes, I’d say ‘Jordan, can you bake me cupcakes?’ And she would," recalled Kyley. Jordan wanted to major in business and eventually open a bakery, said her sister.

Of the community reaction, Kyley said "Everyone’s been absolutely fantastic. Right after it happened, they immediately came to the house because they knew my mom would probably be home. She’s the one who needed the most support. Another close family friend left her vacation in Alabama and drove through the night. All of Jordan’s friends have been over; we’ve been having people call, and send letters. They’ve been very supportive of us."

Makanani’s funeral arrangements are being handled by Horis Ward Funeral Home.


The Associated Press contributed to this article.