April 8, 2013

Family, friends rally

Prayer vigil held at 2 hospitals for those hurt in 3-vehicle wreck, including local student

Misty Watson
mistywatson@daltoncitizen.com

— Kelvin Locke admits he’s had a rough time seeing his daughter lay in a hospital bed unable to move, but he remains optimistic.

“We don’t know if she’ll ever walk again,” he said Sunday afternoon. “There’s a lot of stress and heartache, but a lot of good is going to come out of this.”

Locke’s daughter, Hannah, 15, a sophomore at Coahulla Creek High School, was one of several people injured in a three-car wreck on Friday on Dawnville Road near Pleasant Grove Drive.

Hannah was taken by LifeForce helicopter to Erlanger Medical Center in Chattanooga to be treated for a spinal injury, bruised ribs and a fractured back. The spinal injury has left her with no feeling in her legs, said a family friend Marty Greene, who spoke on behalf of the Lockes. But he said it’s too soon to tell what has caused the loss of feeling, and they’re hopeful it’s temporary.

Locke’s wife, Mandy, 43, the principal at Dug Gap Elementary School, was also injured. She was taken to Hamilton Medical Center to be treated for several bruises and injuries to her right arm. Mandy Locke’s mother, Barbara Rose, 61, a nurse at Hamilton Medical Center, is being treated there for several broken bones, Kelvin Locke said.

“It’s terrible for a dad,” he said. “Mandy and her mom are still at Dalton. It’s hard to have them in different hospitals in different towns.”

The three were passengers along with Josue Dominguez, 15, of Dalton, in a 2013 Hyundai Sonata being driven by family friend Robyn Baggett, 47, of Resaca, when it was hit head-on by a Ford Expedition being driven by Tonya Renae Hardson, 38, of Rocky Face, according to an email from Gordy Wright, the Georgia State Patrol’s public information officer. Hardson, who has been charged with failure to maintain lane, crossed the centerline of the road as she approached traffic stopped waiting on a car to make a left turn. She struck the westbound Sonata head-on. The impact caused the Sonata to rotate and hit a 2006 Toyota Highlander being driven by Wayne Ray Hardin, 55, of Dalton, who was not injured.

Hardson and Dominguez were both taken to Hamilton Medical Center with injuries.

Greene said Kelvin Locke’s faith in God is encouraging. The family attends Mount Rachel Baptist Church.

“So many times when these tragedies happen in people’s lives, they fall apart,” Greene said. “We have been with Kelvin and see him on his knees (in prayer) and be able to stand because of that.”

A prayer vigil for healing those involved in the wreck was held Sunday at 3 p.m. at both hospitals.

“What they would ask for would be prayers for complete healing,” Greene said. “There’s a part of this that God is going to have to intervene in.”

Hannah is on the tennis team, played for the volleyball team and was a starter on the basketball team and she has good grades, Greene said.

“She is one of the sweetest, humblest young ladies you’ll ever meet,” he said. “She’s had coaches up here, her assistant principal up here. It speaks very highly of her... She is in fantastic spirits. That is an encouragement for the family. She’s ready to hit this head-on.”

Hannah’s brother, Sawyer, who is in the National Guard and a student at North Georgia College and State University, was able to stay with her over the weekend. Greene said that was a blessing.

Also, “American Idol” runner-up and Rossville native Lauren Alaina stopped by for a visit, Greene said.

“I met a girl in the hospital tonight. Please pray for Hannah. She’s 15 & was in a serious car wreck today #Godheals #faith,” Alaina tweeted on Saturday. Later she sent out another tweet “Let’s show @hannahlocke_12 how many people are praying for her and believe in her complete recovery. Lets try to trend #alainersforhannah,” which had been retweeted 214 times by Sunday afternoon.

“Lauren Alaina prayed with her and continues to check on her,” Greene said. “The support they are getting from the community is unbelievable. Thanks everyone for all the support, everyone who has come to the hospital and called... It has been great to see the outpour of love from the community. Your life can change in a matter of seconds.”

For updates on Hannah, “Like” the Facebook page, “Prayer’s for Hannah.” Updates are being dictated by Kelvin Locke and posted by the Greenes. Information on T-shirt sales will be up soon. Proceeds will go toward helping the Lockes with medical expenses.