An Atlanta tragedy has been made even worse as a nine-year-old boy died after being struck by a motor vehicle along with two of his friends as they were riding their bikes. Isaiah Ward, who suffered severe brain and spinal injuries in the accident, died on Sunday evening after he was removed from a respirator. Isaiah was riding in his neighborhood along with his 11-year-old brother and a 12-year-old friend when they were struck from behind by a driver who police now say was both speeding and high.
According to WSB-TV, the crash occurred on Friday night. Ryan Lisabeth, 28, tried to flee the scene by witness reports after he struck the boys. He first struck one vehicle, then hit the boys, and then hit a second vehicle as he tried to speed away, but his vehicle became disabled and came to an uncontrolled stop.
Neighbors say that they could tell that something was wrong with him. Stephanie Nero described what she saw to WSB.
“He didn’t know what was going on but he was impaired, on something.”
Isaiah’s brother, Roland Ward, is slowly recovering from his injuries. Family friend Timothy Hood was able to open his eyes on Saturday by his father’s report to WSB.
The boys were riding their bikes on Mayson Turner Road in northwest Atlanta near Joseph E. Boone Boulevard. Lisabeth crossed the center line, and the boys were thrown in multiple directions on impact. The accident happened around 7 p.m. The children were transported to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta – Egleston.
A neighbor said that the boys were on their way to a local candy store to buy some candy.
A makeshift shrine made of flowers has been steadily growing in the area where the boys were struck as residents placed tokens to express their grief and sympathy for the affected families.
Neighbors are doing what they can to provide support. Edward Thompson expressed his sentiments.
“Just hoping that they be OK, that they make it through and we’re praying for the family.”
Freddie Smith, Isaiah’s uncle, spoke fondly of the young boy to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, saying that he was very mature.
“That baby, he was one of a kind. If you were upset, his smile alone would brighten your day. Isaiah will always hold a special place in my heart.”
The family decided to take Isaiah off of life support after three out of four tests indicated that he had no brain activity. Doctors say that the impact of the vehicle severed his spine and broke his neck.
Isaiah’s brother, Roland, sustained a broken leg that may require surgery. Both he and their friend Timothy are expected to recover from their injuries. The family has not yet told Roland about his brother’s death.
Lisabeth was taken to Grady Hospital and then taken into custody.
When officers arrived on the scene Lisabeth refused to open his car door, so they used a baton to break his driver’s side window and remove him from the vehicle.
Camera men for WSB caught Lisabeth breaking down while in an ambulance shortly after the crash.
Lisabeth has a past criminal record dating back to 2011 that includes heroin and other drug-related crimes. He currently faces a number of charges for the accident that claimed young Isaiah’s life and severely injured his brother and friend, including DUI drugs, serious injury, driving on the wrong side of the road, possession of a controlled substance, and reckless driving. Lisabeth is being held in the Fulton County Jail.
Smith, Isaiah’s uncle, says that although he initially wanted to inflict pain on Lisabeth for the pain that he had brought to his family, he now prays that Lisabeth will be able to heal from what he has done.
He spoke somberly about Lisabeth’s decision to both drive under the influence and then drive in an area where children might be playing.
“You can’t live for the moment; you have to be conscious of the decisions you make. Isiah hadn’t even started living yet. He had aspirations, he wanted to do stuff and he was robbed of that opportunity.”
[Image via Twitter]