Mother dead, child injured by fallen tree branch at Peek Park
A tragic accident in Peek Park left a young mother dead and her 1-year-old child fighting for life after a tree limb fell on the pair as they sat on a park bench in the playground area Friday evening.
Polk County Coroner Tony Brazier said 16year-old Latrena Drayton of Cedartown died of her wounds on the evening June 19, while emergency personnel were working to save her life.
Drayton’s son, Jeremiah, was airlifted to Atlanta’s Scottish Rite Children’s Hospital for immediate treatment. As of press time on Monday, Jeremiah remained in critical condition recovering from emergency surgery.
Brazier said emergency personnel responded to the incident within minutes, but were unable to save Drayton. Brazier said she was in “very critical condition” when put into an ambulance and before Redmond EMS were able to take her to Floyd Medical Center in Rome, she began to arrest.
Brazier said that according to his conversations with emergency personnel at the scene,
there was no immediate explanation as to why the tree branch broke.
“There wasn’t a wind blowing or anything, it just happened,” he said.
Drayton, a Cedartown High School student, was remembered by principal Darrell Wetherington as an “upstanding and polite young lady.”
“Whenever I was around her, she was always respectful and just a wonderful person to be around,” he said. “She’s going to be missed here at Cedartown High.”
Johna Tidwell, who taught Drayton both at Cedartown High School and formerly at Cartersville Middle School, said simply she was “a sweet, sweet girl” devoted to her child and to giving back for the neonatal care he’d already received at Scottish Rite.
“She worked a lot on her studies, and worked hard,” Tidwell said. “She told me that ‘I really want to give back to the people who helped my baby.’ She was interested in getting into nursing or the medical field because of the encoun-ters she had with nurses who helped her child all those months.”
Tidwell said she would be missed by all those who encountered her “bright, beautiful smile.”
“She was a kind-spirited, kind-hearted girl full of love,” Tidwell said. “What a legacy she’ll leave behind with her friends and all who were in her life. They’ll always be impacted by what she meant to them.”