The Cairo and Grady County community is mourning the tragic death of a little 6-year-old boy, who was killed on his way to school Monday morning.
The victim was Jayden Richardson, a first grade student at Eastside Elementary School. According to reports filed by investigating officers with the Cairo Police Department, Jayden and his older sister crossed M.L. King Jr. Avenue S.W. going to a bus stop near the intersection of Legion Boulevard SW., at approximately 7:20 a.m. Monday when the young man suddenly darted back into the street going away from the bus stop and stepped in front of a westbound car.
Eyewitnesses to the accident, including Washington Middle School sixth grade math teacher Mandy Reynolds, told police there was nothing the driver could have done to avoid hitting the local youngster. Reynolds was en route to work at W.M.S. and traveling east on M.L. King Jr. Avenue S.W. at the time of the accident.
Shervonda Myles, another eyewitness, said that she had just told Jayden and his sister, Larihia, that they had missed the bus when Jayden darted back into the street to go home.
His sister, age 9, told police she shouted for her brother to stop because a car was coming, but he continued out into the path of the westbound 2014 Hyundai Elantra being driven by Chelsea Bell, 28, of Cairo.
Bell told officers she had hit the child before she even knew what had happened and at first thought she may have hit a trash can on the side of the road. It was not until she exited the vehicle did she realize she had hit a child, according to the police department report.
Grady County Emergency Medical Service was dispatched at 7:23 a.m. and was on the scene at 7:27 a.m. EMS crews transported the child to Grady General Hospital arriving at 7:39 a.m.
News of the child’s death quickly spread and grief counselors were dispatched to Eastside Elementary School to console both children and adults.
“The Eastside students, faculty, and staff has been forever changed by the tragic loss of our beloved, Jayden,” said Eastside Principal Chiquila Wright. “Jayden was a kind, smart student who can never be replaced in our hearts.”
“We all adored him; he will be missed,” said Kayla Gainous, one of Jayden’s first grade teachers.
The crisis team of local school counselors has returned to the school each day this week and will continue to come as needed, according to Grady County School Superintendent Dr. Kermit Gilliard.
The superintendent was in Athens Monday attending a statewide meeting of education leaders when he received word of the accident and immediately departed to return to Cairo.
“Grady County Schools mourns the loss of Jayden Richardson. Our school system has lost a family member. Our thoughts and prayers are with his parents, sibling, grandparents and our Eastside family,” Dr. Gilliard said.
On Tuesday, the Cairo Police Department completed its investigation of the accident and Interim Police Chief Giovannie Santos reported that no charges will be brought against Chelsea Bell.
According to Santos, C.P.D. officials met with Grady County Solicitor General Charles Ferenchick and it was determined there was “insufficient cause to bring charges against the driver of the vehicle involved.”
The interim police chief commented, “This was a tragic accident, which has caused tremendous sorrow and sense of profound loss, which has been felt amongst all within our community. Our thoughts and prayers are with the child’s parents, sibling, and family at this time, as well as the driver, and we ask the community to do the same.”
Jayden Richardson is the son of Ulysses Richardson and Lenessa Jones, both of Cairo. Weston’s Funeral Home is assisting the Richardson family with the funeral arrangements, but arrangements were not complete as of Messenger presstime.