Georgia father Shannon Hamilton lost his 16-year-old daughter and her boyfriend in a horrific car accident that occurred on a bridge that did not have a safety railing. The grieving father felt he had a moral obligation to do everything in his power to ensure an accident like that did not happen again. Therefore, when the city failed to put safety barriers up in a timely manner, he decided to take matters into his own hands. The father began building guardrails on the bridge. However, Hamilton was arrested and charged with a felony for making the unauthorized changes to the road.
Fox News reports that the devastated father waited for six months for the city to put up the guardrails before deciding to take the project on himself. He says that the county commission voted to add the guardrails after his 16-year-old daughter and her boyfriend died after plummeting off the bridge. If the bridge had guardrails, the vehicle may not have made it over the embankment into the creek below.
Hamilton says that despite voting to add the guardrails, the project has not started and the bridge continues to be a hazard in the community. Hamilton says the county commission’s actions are “disgusting” and outright “negligent,” and that it shows a “reckless disregard” for public safety.
“For 30 days to go by and nothing to happen is disgusting, disrespectful, negligent and it’s reckless disregard.”
Therefore, though Hamilton notes that he knew it was not necessarily “legal” for him to begin building the safety barricade on his own, he felt he had a “moral obligation” to do something about the hazardous bridge conditions. When Hamilton began constructing the safety barricade, he was arrested by members of the White County Sheriff’s Office. He was charged with a felony but released after an outpouring of support in the community. Many in the area felt that the arrest was “unjust” and that Hamilton was doing something good for the community at large.
With Hamilton legally unable to fix the bridge himself, a petition has been started to ensure the bridge gets the safety barricade it desperately needs. The petition notes that the conditions near the bridge are dangerous and must be rectified out of concerns for public safety.
“Upon reviewing the scene, it was obvious that the route the vehicle took was an exact path between a tree and the corner of the bridge. This space is wide open on all four corners. Additionally, there is no signage indicating an upcoming single-lane bridge, nor is there any lighting in the area to make the surroundings more visible.”
Members of the community are asking that, at minimum, a guardrail should encompass the area around the bridge.
What do you think of the grieving father’s arrest for attempting to make the bridge safer for the general public?
[Image Credit: Change.org]