A mother made the supreme sacrfice early Monday morning when she laid her life on the line for her 6-year-old son.
Jolanda H. Hanna, 42, of Pickard Road was walking beside her son who was riding on a bicycle to Westwood School when she was struck by a 1992 Ford Tempo driven by Bobbie D. Johnson, also of Pickard Road.
Hanna pushed her son out of the car's path with no hesitation. Hanna's son was not injured in the accident.
“I had taken the car so I could take our oldest daughter to the airport,” said Jolanda's husband, Alan Hanna. “Jolanda had a bike at the house and decided to put our youngest son on the saddle and push him to school and she would ride the bike home. We are only about 300 yards from the school so it would have been a short trip. I went to speak to Ms. Johnson last night and she is devastated. She said she never saw Jolanda and our son, she only heard the impact.”
According to Trooper Tommy Wonnum with Post 26 of the Georgia State Patrol, Johnson was apparently blinded by the sun and did not see Hanna.
“I got the call at 7:55 a.m,” said Wonnum. “Mrs. Hanna was not far from her home when she was struck. According to some of the witnesses on the scene, she was walking with her son as he road his bicycle to school. The accident was about a half mile from the entrance to Westwood. Everyone I spoke to at the accident site said the sun is very bright at that time of the morning, and traveling on the road can be a bit taxing.”
Alan Hanna and his family moved to Upson County from Enniskillen, Northern Ireland five weeks ago.
“I became involved with the church after my sister told me about a book Reverend Wright had written,” said Hanna.
“I have been involved with my family Methodist church in Ireland for the last 17 years, so God's word was not new to me. I bought the book for a friend who was suffering from depression, but didn't pick it up and read it, it had just been laying on my desk. God spoke to me and told me to open the book and read. Shortly after that, God spoke to me again and told me to go and work for the church here in Thomaston. I thought it over for about two weeks and spoke with my wife about my desire to move to the states. after much help from the lovely people in the community and Saxby Chambliss, we were able to get our visas and come to the United States.”
Although the Hanna family has suffered a loss, Alan says their faith in God and the love of the community and their church family is paramount for their future.
“I am at peace,” he said. “Jolanda was a enormously gracious and beautiful girl and that grew more as we came to be involved with our new church. I trust God. He has gotten me through some difficult times and he is with us now. I know that is why I was able to speak with Ms. Johnson last night. We don't need two victims. When you practice the ways of God, peace and love will follow.”
Hanna said although the family will have a funeral and service in Thomaston, a memorial service will be held in their hometown in Ireland and another memorial service will be conducted in Jolanda's hometown in Holland.
Post 26 along with it's accident reconstruction team is investigating the accident. No charges have been filed against Johnson.