Bellwood: Community comes together to mourn loss of star child student
The northwest Atlanta neighborhood of Bellwood is still in deep mourning following a vehicle incident which resulted in the death of one child and critically injuring another two youngsters. Atlanta police are still investigating the circumstances, although what is known so far is Isiah Ward, 9, has died from injuries sustained while his brother Roland, and friend Timothy Hood, 12 are still in a critical condition. Isaiah was kept alive on life support until Sunday afternoon.
The driver of the vehicle, Ryan Lisabeth, 28, is under suspicion of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) while in control of a vehicle which struck the children on the sidewalk of Joseph E. Boone Boulevard on the evening of Friday 22nd May. While Atlanta police continue with their inquiries, the local community has vociferously expressed their support for the families involved and pledged to seek justice on the children’s behalf. Although Lisabeth had sought to be bailed, the judge denied his bond leaving him in custody – which is perhaps a small mercy given the depth of feeling in the community against him and the groundswell of public opinion about the tragedy.
It is clear that the local community mourns the loss of Isiah Ward, who had recently been named “Student of the Month” at Bethune Elementary. Mourners recently held at a vigil at the site of the incident, which has become a memorial to the children with a vast collection of stuffed animals, candles and photographs. Isaiah’s aunt, Jennifer Toomer spoke for the community when she told reporters,
”He was nine years old. He don’t have nothing. I mean, he had everything to live for. He had people that loved him”
Toomer went on to show the sense of loss when she talked about judge’s denial of Lisabeth’s bail by saying,
“This is what he did to our family, my sister. This is what I’m saying. This should be a wakeup call. I want to thank the judge that denied his bond,” said Isaiah’s aunt, Jennifer Toomer.
Isis’s uncle, Freddie Smith, left the public in no doubt about the severity of the feelings against Lisabeth, when said to Channel 2, that his prime instinct was to inflict pain on Lisabeth,
“I wanted him to suffer, SUF-FER.”
Like other residents, Toomer has called for Lisabeth to be sentenced for life in prison with no chance of parole.
Another Bellwood resident, Helena McClain, echoed Toomer’s feelings when she said,
”This is my son Arthur Ballard, and he was just with him. This has really affected him so much, it really has.”
McClaim summed up the emotions of the community when she explained Arthur, just like all the other children who knew the three children, were shocked at the tragedy of the incident and the loss to the neighborhood of their friends.
Atlanta Police to press charges against suspect Ryan Lisabeth
Atlanta Police have announced that the suspect in the incident which left one child dead and two seriously injured on the sidewalk of Joseph E. Boone Boulevard on the evening of Friday 22nd May WILL face charges.
Ryan Lisabeth, 28, will face vehicle homicide and DUI after Atlanta Police described the circumstances of the incident.
It appears that Ryan’s vehicle crossed the center line of the road, struck a passing vehicle on the rear, then mounted the sidewalk where the three children were standing and innocently talking to each other. After the vehicle had collided with the children, it went on to hit yet another vehicle before coming to an uncontrolled stop. Lisabeth is suspected of being under the influence of drugs while driving the vehicle.
According to online Fulton County Jail records, Lisabeth, 28, has been arrested on multiple charges, including:-
- serious injury by vehicle
- reckless driving
- driving on the wrong side of the road
- possession of a controlled substance
Channel 2 have reported that Ryan Lisabeth is well known to the authorities, already having a record includes:-
- three DUI convictions
- a cocaine-related conviction
- an open DUI case that he was scheduled to be sentenced for at the time he went before a judge on the latest charges
Furthermore, it seems that Lisabeth was in a treatment facility at the time of Friday’s incident, although his attorney declined to comment about at present.
Atlanta Police have provided more details about the incident to the media, noting that in addition to the incident, Lisabeth also tried to abscond and leave the scene of the crime.
The Atlanta Police announcement described the incident:
“traveling on Joseph E. Boone at a high rate of speed when he struck a passing truck on the rear as he crossed over the center line. The suspect traveled up onto the sidewalk where three children were standing and talking. The suspect struck the three children, causing them to be thrown in multiple directions. The vehicle continued and struck a second vehicle before becoming disabled and coming to an uncontrolled stop.”
Tragedy of neighborhood blighted by drugs and street crime
Although the neighborhood around the incident has strong community values and a sense of togetherness amongst the working-class residents, there is also concern about levels of street crime – especially drugs.
Anthony Williams, a security guard at private school called Bright Futures on the same boulevard where the incident occurred said,
“It’s dangerous out here, really dangerous. That’s what’s going on out here, ‘the business.’ Everybody’s out here doing all types of drugs.”
It remains to be seen what justice will be achieved in the case of Lisabeth, but no punishment will be enough for the loss of such a valued and treasured child like Isiah or the injuries caused to two other innocent children. While speculation abounds as to the motives of Lisabeth and to the establishment of the facts of the incident, if some level of peace can be granted to the suffering families and friends then faith can start to be restored within the strong community of Bellwood.
The Law Offices of Kevin C. Ford represent clients throughout Georgia who were injured or lost a loved one in car wrecks caused by a motorist under the influence of alcohol (DUI) or drugs. Further, we take on cases of pedestrians injured by motorists. As such, the Law Offices of Kevin C. Ford is currently accepting drunk driver, car and pedestrian crash cases throughout Georgia. If you or a loved one has been injured as the result of the negligence or fault of a drunk or negligent driver, then please contact an experienced car accident attorney immediately for a free consultation. Mr. Ford can help clients obtain monetary compensation necessary to pay for past, present and future medical care and provide for a fresh start. Please contact us today for a free consultation.