Mother dead, child in­jured by fallen tree branch at Peek Park

The Standard Journal - - FRONT PAGE - By KEVIN MYRICK Editor

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.”

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