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Thursday May 19th

Twin sisters were involved in a fatal car crash on April 2

<p>Sarah Tatum, a communications major, was planning to graduate in May with the class of 2015 (Photos courtesy of Hayley Burton).</p>
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Sarah Tatum, a communications major, was planning to graduate in May with the class of 2015 (Photos courtesy of Hayley Burton).

This is how Emily Hobbs describes her best friends — Sarah and MaryAnne Tatum.

She recalls the laughing and fun the most — even during a Halloween at home in Wilmington.

“We dressed as like ‘Fruits of the Loom.’ And we wore tights and everything, but we were tighty whities,” said Hobbs, a senior journalism and mass communication and art history student at UNC.

“We looked ridiculous. Like I said, they were unabashedly them and just owned how they were. They just wanted people to laugh.”

Adam Hunter, a senior at Davidson College and the sisters’ friend since their time together at New Hanover High School, remembers the same story, albeit with a different beginning.

“They knocked on my door. My friends were at my house. I don’t think they even knew where I lived ... They were dressed up for Halloween as the ‘Fruits of the Loom’ ... It was really funny, again — a total shock. That kind of reflects, I think, how Sarah and MaryAnne were together.”

On April 2, the 22-year-old twins — Sarah and MaryAnne Tatum — were involved in a car accident that took Sarah’s life and left MaryAnne fighting to recover.

“Sarah’s time on earth was cut short,” Hobbs said. “She lived a short life, but she lived a very big life.”

MaryAnne is being nursed back to health after being critically injured in the accident. She is currently at the Medical University of South Carolina hospital in Charleston.

Kyle McMahan, a cousin of the sisters, said MaryAnne is no longer using a breathing tube.

McMahan said he remembers his cousins by the goofy things they all did together.

“We used to always go as a family to the beach, and we’d rent a beach house. For some reason, we always wanted dig as big of a hole as we could, and that was our hang out spot at the beach,” he said.

“So we would spend hours and hours a day digging and digging in the sand until we got this like this 5 foot deep hole that we could all just sit in. By the time that we got done with it, we never actually wanted to sit in it.”

“Looking back at it, that seems kind of dumb. But when we did it, it was always something that we looked forward to when we were at the beach.”

Both sisters were planning to graduate this spring from UNC, Sarah with a degree in communication studies and MaryAnne with a degree in journalism and mass communication.

Hobbs said she remembers one of her last conversations with MaryAnne before the accident.

“We were talking about job stuff and stressing out about that. And we were sort of like, ‘If neither one of us has a job by August, let’s just do it! Let’s just move to New York,’” she said.

“We’ll wait tables and figure it out there. And then something like that happens, and you gain some perspective on what’s important.”

But for both McMahan and the twins’ close friends, there will be no more beach trips with Sarah, no more planning post-graduation leaps of faiths, no more funny Halloween costumes.

“I would just tell her that I love her,” McMahan said. “And even though her life was cut short way too early that she had a huge impact on everyone around her, all her friends and family, and that we miss her very much.”

“I’m sure she would probably just be worried about MaryAnne right now — kind of speaks to how she was as a person.”

There will be a gathering in celebration of Sarah Tatum’s life Sunday from 2 to 5 p.m. in the Student Union. The event is open to the public.

There is also a donation webpage on GoFundMe, the crowdfunding website, to help the Tatum family with medical expenses.

university@dailytarheel.com



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