The child killed in Friday’s single car accident on Ga. Highway 162 has been identified as 7-year-old Bobby Joe Couch, a second grade student at Ficquett Elementary School.
According to Trooper Jeremiah Slayton with the Georgia State Patrol, the driver of the vehicle, 28-year-old Cristina Crowe, was traveling south on Highway 162 between Parkwood Drive and Avery Drive when the incident occured. The road evidence shows that Crowe traveled off of the west shoulder of the road (to her right), overcorrected, then went across both lanes (to her left) and overcorrected once more, essentially weaving across the entire road, before finally travelling off of the east shoulder of the road and striking a tree. The point of impact on Crowe’s car was the right rear portion of the vehicle, where Couch was apparently seated.
Slayton said all the evidence indicates that Crowe, Couch, Crowe’s infant daughter and Couch’s 4-year-old brother James were wearing their safety belts. Previous reports that Bobby and James were Crowe’s children were incorrect. They are actually the children of Crowe’s husband’s cousins.
Crowe has reportedly told friends in an e-mail that she came around a curve and saw another vehicle coming toward her in her lane and swerved to keep from colliding with it. According to Slayton, witnesses that arrived at the scene immediately after the accident saw no other vehicle in the area. Crowe’s vehicle has been inspected for paint transfer, but there has been none found at this point in the investigation. Slayton also said the area where Crowe was driving did not have any curves.
"I do not have any indication that another car was at all involved in this accident," Slayton said. "As of right now there is absolutely no evidence of another vehicle."
Crowe, her daughter and James Couch were life-flighted to various Atlanta hospitals. James suffered several small lacerations and bumps and bruises, received stitches and was released to his parents. Crowe reportedly suffered a broken shoulder bone and various superficial injuries; her daughter allegedly suffered a head injury and had to have brain surgery to remove one of her frontal skull bones in order to alleviate swelling. Bobby was transported by ambulance to Newton Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.
Bobby’s father Joseph, who works at K-2 Towing in Porterdale, was reportedly called to the scene to remove the vehicle which is when he realized his sons had been involved in the accident Friday afternoon.
He said he and his wife Julie have attempted to explain to 4-year-old James that his brother isn’t coming back, but the information isn’t registering.
"We tell him and he’ll cry for a minute," Joseph said, "but then he’ll ask us when we’re bringing Bobby home from the hospital. It hasn’t really sunk in to him."
Students and faculty at Ficquett met with counselors Monday to help the tight-knit school come to grips with Bobby’s death. They will also be available should anyone need additional assistance in the coming days.
"Everyone was absolutely stunned and deeply saddened to hear about Bobby’s death," said Newton County School System Public Relations Director Sherri Viniard. "The school system and the Board of Education extends its deepest sympathy to Bobby’s family and friends during this very difficult time."
The accident itself is currently still under investigation by the Georgia State Patrol according to Slayton. Toxicology reports are pending, but there are currently no charges against Crowe.
The Couch family is currently accepting donations to help with funeral and health expenses. Those interested can send donations to 75 Darby Road, Covington, 30014 to the attention of Joseph Couch.