Three gay Atlanta men were killed early Saturday when the car they were riding in lost control, plunged over a barrier and crashed upside down on Interstate 75.
Adam Bailey, 33; Cordel Fowler, 24; and Esu Manzano, 36, died instantly when the Audi A3 crashed on its roof in the northbound lanes of I-75 about 3 a.m. on Saturday, according to the Atlanta Police Department. One of the men was driving the vehicle along the Buford Highway Connector and lost control, veering off the road and onto – and then over – the barrier before the car fell to the interstate, police said.
Police said the cause of the accident remains under investigation.
Earlier that evening, the men attended the birthday party of events promoter AC Cornelius, who is CEO of Alter-Ego Entertainment. Cornelius struggled with the news of the accident, according to a Facebook post late Saturday.
How do you lose 3 good friends all at one time and on my damn birthday. These were the last pics we took last night at my bday celebration. I love you dudes man. Missing yall already. It hurt so bad.
Fowler has worked with gay events company Rockstars Productions in the past. The company's CEO, JuJu Rock, also reacted to their deaths with a Facebook post.
I've stayed away from Social Media since I've received the devastating news of your passing. I wanted it not to be true and knew the out pouring of love you would receive on Social Media would only confirm you're gone. I'm grateful for almost 7 years of awesome memories with you. I'll miss you deeply. RIP you were one of the great ones. DEFINiTELY gone to soon. Love you much!
A tribute posted to Instagram fondly remembered the three men.
Police say three men died when the driver lost control of his car and flipped onto the interstate in midtown Atlanta. The Medical Examiner's Office said that 36-year-old Esu Manzano, 33-year-old Adam Bailey and 24-year-old Cordel Fowler were killed in the crash on Saturday, January 9, 2016. Atlanta police say the three men were headed south on Interstate 75 around 3 a.m. when the driver lost control. The car veered off the ramp into a barrier and traveled along the wall for some distance before flipping over the wall and landing on its roof on the interstate. The car was crushed and sadly all three were killed on impact. The men were returning home after attending a birthday party. Cordel, 24, was a 2013 graduate of Morehouse College. Friends say he always kept a smile on his face and was a joy to be around. Adam, 33, was a graduate of Georgia State and will be remembered for his laugh, mischievous smile and his zest for life. He was ambitious and kept pursuing his dreams. Esu, 36, was a generous, kind soul who leaves behind two young sons who were the joy of his life. Deepest sympathies to their families and many friends who are mourning their passing. Rest easy Corky, Adam & Esu. #esumanzano #cordelfowler #adambailey #ripesu #ripcordel #ripcorky #ripadam #morehouse #morehouseman #georgiastate #alphaphialpha #rip #restinpeace #restinparadise #gonetoosoon #restinpower #sleepinpeace #gonebutnotforgotten #atl #gonebutneverforgotten
Friends of Fowler launched a Go Fund Me campaign to help pay for funeral expenses. More than 70 people have raised about $3,000 since In Memory of Cordel "Corky" Fowler was created on Sunday.
Everyone who knew Cordel "Corky" Fowler was aware of his incredible spirit and high energy. 24 Years is too short, however we knew he lived every one of those days to the fullest. Cordel was truly one of a kind and his legacy and smile will never be forgotten. The funds raised will pay for his funeral expenses as well as any other expense his family has incurred. Thank you for all of your support!
Andre Hilton told WSB that he was one of the last people to see the three men before the accident on Saturday as they left a Midtown nightclub.
"I didn't really have an idea of how many people they touched until this happened," Hilton said.
Hilton said friends called Fowler "Corky" during his days as a student at Morehouse College.
"Corky would keep you laughing. He would bring life to all the parties," Hilton said.
He says Bailey was a well-known artist who performed at the Opera Nightclub.
"You blink your eye and all that changes in a matter of a second," Hilton said.
UPDATE | Friends of Bailey launched a Go Fund Me campaign on Monday. The Adam Bailey Memorial Fund surpassed its $4,000 goal within hours of being launched.
On Sat morning, Jan 9 2015, we lost a very important person in an auto accident: Adam Bailey.
Adam touched so many lives during his 33 years. Always the life of the party with an infectious smile and personality. Though this may be difficult for many of us, he would want us to celebrate his life and the legacy that he has left behind.
To assist the Bailey family with the cost of celebrating his life, we are asking everyone to assist by making a donation to the Adam Bailey Memorial Fund. We are forever grateful for whatever you can do.
Also on Monday, gay CNN anchor Don Lemon, a former Atlanta resident, memorialized the men as he closed his show.