Charges have been dropped against the father who tried to build a barricade at the Georgia bridge where his teenage daughter and her boyfriend died, the District Attorney said Tuesday.
“I feel no purpose in pursuing criminal charges, and he assured me he will not do this again,” DA Jeff Langley told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “There was no ill will. And he was quite apologetic.”
Shannon Hamilton was arrested April 12 on Gene Nix Road in White County, Georgia, because he wanted something in place to prevent another tragedy, he said. In March, Cecily Mcree Hamilton, 16, and Taylor Scott Swing, 18, died when the car they were traveling in plunged from the bridge and landed in a cold creek below.
A month after the teens’ deaths, Hamilton said nothing had been done at the bridge, and he couldn’t sit back and wait any longer.
“Every day that goes by is another day that we’re risking a life that goes into that creek,” Hamilton said.
Since he works in the quarry business, Hamilton said he decided it was a project he could handle himself. He planned to build a berm, a ledge made out of gravel-type material that could serve as a temporary barrier if cars were driving off the roadway. It was supposed to be a temporary fix until the county could build something more permanent, Hamilton said.
Before he could complete the project, Hamilton was arrested by White County deputies who first tried to talk him out of it. Hamilton was charged with interference with government property.
Four days after his arrest, the bridge was lined with heavy concrete dividers. The county plans a more a permanent solution at the site, the County Manager said.
On Friday, Sheriff Neal Walden wrote a letter to the DA asking that the charges be dropped. Hamilton met with both Walden and Langley on Monday.
Since his daughter’s death, Hamilton said community outreach and a scholarship organization in Cecily’s honor, http://www.bringit4cec.org/, has helped him through the pain. Scholarships will be awarded for cheerleading, one of his daughter’s passions, he said.