By Ed Brock
A 13-year-old Jonesboro boy who was badly injured in a traffic accident last week has died and his mother faces charges in connection with the accident.
Pointe South Middle School 7th Grader Darrin Harvey was a "wonderful kid," said his Aunt Yolanda Glenn of Riverdale.
"He was an average teen-age kid who liked going to school and building go-carts," Glenn said, adding that he also liked to play baseball.
Harvey's mother, 39-year-old Lana Shelton of Eagle Drive, was taking him to school around 7:25 a.m. Feb. 3 when she pulled out onto Tara Boulevard from Cardinal Road, according to a police report. Michael Drummond, 18, of Jonesboro, was traveling south on Tara Boulevard in a Ford F-150 pickup truck when he hit Shelton's car.
Shelton and Harvey's 17-year-old sister Charday Harvey were slightly injured in the accident but Darrin took "the brunt of the impact," Clayton County Police Capt. Jeff Turner said.
He was taken to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston where he remained on life support until he died around 6 p.m. Tuesday night. Harvey was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident, though Glenn said that the children usually did wear seatbelts.
Shelton has been charged with a seatbelt violation and failure to yield when entering a roadway, Turner said, and a misdemeanor charge of vehicular homicide against Shelton has been turned over to Clayton County Solicitor General Keith Martin's office for consideration.
Shelton remained free on a copy of the charges Wednesday, a decision that Martin agreed with since Shelton "still has to bury her son."
"She doesn't need that right now," Martin said.
It could be a month before Martin decides whether to proceed with the charge as they await the results of blood alcohol tests and an autopsy on Harvey.
"We will certainly look at the facts of the case," Martin said. "We will approach it with both head and heart."
A group of about 10 counselors with the Clayton County School's System Crisis Response Team went to Pointe South Middle School on Wednesday to help the students and staff cope with Darrin's death, said the school system's Coordinator of Psychological Services Joe Nail.
"Things are going well," Nail said.
Darrin's family was still making funeral arrangements Wednesday and planned to set up an account for donations in lieu of flowers, Glenn said.
"Everyone is very emotional, extremely emotional," Glenn said, adding that Shelton did not want to comment on the charges.
Shelton and the rest of the family did say through Glenn that they miss and love Darrin. The family donated some of Darrin's organs, Glenn said, so that his death would save lives.