Ninth grader dies in bicycle accident

High school principal Bert Smith said Monday night that counselors would be available to students this week following the death of a ninth grade student early Monday morning.

Justin Cody Smith
Justin Cody Smith

“Unfortunately today you’ve heard about the tragedy that’s happened, we have heavy hearts tonight about a young man that tragically lost his life today so y’all keep us in your thoughts and prayers tomorrow,” Smith said.

A Monday morning accident took the life of Justin Kody Smith, 14, of Atkinson after he was accidentally struck by a vehicle while on an east side Brantley highway according to county coroner Richard Rowell.

Rowell confirmed Monday afternoon that Smith was struck by a car at approximately 10:30 a.m. Monday while he rode his bicycle along Hwy. 110 West past Fort McIntosh.

Emergency calls went out shortly after with operators warning of a possible fatality in the accident.  Smith was pronounced dead on the scene.

According to Brantley County Patrol Commander Wade Bennett, Smith was riding when two vehicles approached from behind.  Those on scene say the boy thought there was only one vehicle behind him and switched lanes in front of the next vehicle leaving the driver unable to avoid the collision.  Officials have said that no charges are likely.

The accident scene temporarily closed off the section of the highway that morning.

Rowell said that Smith’s family had been notified of the incident.  Smith attended Atkinson Church of God of Prophecy, he said – just miles from the scene of the accident.

Monday’s regular meeting of the board of education began with a prayer for the families affected by Smith’s death.
Interim Superintendent Read Carter also expressed his sympathies for the family during the meeting.

“We are saddened by this event and our prayers are with the parents,” he said.

Services for Smith will be Saturday, March 16 at 11 a.m. at Atkinson Church of God of Prophecy.  The family is requesting donations be made to the church’s youth group or St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital in lieu of flowers.

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