Monday, June 11, 2012
In the blink of an eye...your WHOLE life can change.
I know that.
You do too!
Sometimes things happen in life and you stop in your tracks.
On Sunday night...June 3...something terrible happened. A Chrysler Pacifica traveling eastbound on Hwy 78 near Stone Mountain (Ga) Park went off the highway and crashed into a wooded area. The driver had lost control of the vehicle. The driver was not alone in the car. The driver's kids...two girls (15 & 11) and two boys (9 &8) were also in the car with him. After the crash, only the boys were able to get out of the car. When the driver could not find his cellphone to call for help, he decided to walk to a nearby restaurant to get help. While it is unclear why he left his daughters (I think it was because either he couldn't get them or he thought they were dead), he and his sons walked a mile to get help. When they got to the restaurant, they called the police. While in the restaurant, the driver and his sons were captured by the restaurant's surveillance camera. The driver was clearly distraught on the camera. The video, which would later be played on the local news in Atlanta, shows a man who appeared to be off balance at time. The paramedics arrived and treated the boys who appeared to suffer minor scratches. The police arrived at the restaurant within minutes. Then, they visited the site where the vehicle had been crashed. The 11 yr old girl was still alive. She had suffered fractures and an injury to the head. The 15 yr old was dead. The police say that the driver, Anthony Johnson, caused the accident. They surmised that he had been drinking. The police arrested him and charged him with DUI, vehicular homicide and failure to maintain a lane.
I know Anthony Johnson. Not personally...but I know him. He is the father of a kid on the football team that I coach.
The kid, Nehemiah, was one of the best kids that was on our team 2 yrs ago. Although he didn't play on our team last year, he was back on our team this year. He is a good kid. He's kinda quiet but a good athlete and one of the best kids who we lined up at cornerback that year. And he has a big smile that could light up a room. He was back with our team just 2 weeks ago when we started doing our summer conditioning program on Sunday afternoons. I saw Mr Johnson and gave him a pound and hug when I saw him. I thanked him for letting me coach his son again this year. As a coach, you feel like each kid is yours because of the bonds that are shared on and off the field. This story hits close to home because I think Mr.Johnson...from what I could see...is a great father.
I feel for Nehemiah. I wish I could see the kid and give him a hug. I don't know what he went through during that accident. I don't know how he'll move on at the age of 9 as he has lost his oldest sister and his father is facing jail time. I don't know what Mr. Johnson was thinking when he got behind the wheel. Was he drunk? The police seem to think so. Johnson is now out on bail and will be awaiting trial. But how do you console him when he knows...whether he was drunk or not...he has lost his child. As a parent, you NEVER want to out live your child. The mere thought of being on this earth without my children can bring tears to my eyes. None of us know Mr. Johnson's pain. I feel for him. I don't know if I'll coach Nehemiah this year. At this point, it doesn't matter. I just hope he and his family will be okay. Time will tell
All I can do is pray for them.