The charges against grieving father Shannon Hamilton, who had attempted to build a safety barricade at the White County, Georgia, bridge where his daughter and her boyfriend had died in an accident, were dropped.
Cecily Mcree Hamilton, 16, and Taylor Scott Swing, 18, died when their car ran off the bridge into the creek below in March. In a tragic moment for a parent, Hamilton had been present when the car containing the two bodies had been pulled from the creek.
“I gave her a kiss and told her I loved her,” said Shannon Hamilton to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on April 13. “Hugged her freezing body and said goodbye.”
Hamilton believes that the accident could have been prevented had there been guardrails or another kind of barrier on Gene Nix Road. When no barrier had been built a month after his daughter’s death, Hamilton began to construct one. He said he was concerned about another person getting hurt.
Hamilton works in the quarry business and believed that he could handle building a temporary barrier on the bridge himself until a more permanent one was built by the local government, according to WSBTV.
His efforts were cut short when he was arrested by deputies on April 12 and charged with interference with government property. However, the arrest was caught on video and Hamilton’s circumstances inspired people to act. Jaclyn LeBlanc, who had never met Hamilton, started a petition calling for the charges against him to be dropped.
White County Sheriff Neal Walden supported his deputies’ initial arrest of Hamilton, but expressed sympathy for the father. On April 17, he wrote a letter to the District Attorney asking for the charges to be dismissed, which they were.
“I feel no purpose in pursuing criminal charges, and he assured me he will not do this again,” said DA Jeff Langley to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in regard to Hamilton. “There was no ill will. And he was quite apologetic.”
Community outreach and a cheerleading scholarship organization in Cecily’s name have helped Hamilton through the ordeal. As for the bridge, the county is planning a more permanent barrier solution.
Image source: Youtube.com, WSBTV