Martha Griffin, right, recalls a crash that killed a 7-year-old boy in DeKalb County on Tuesday afternoon. Photo: JOHN SPINK / JSPINK@AJC.COM

‘I hate this’: Woman who comforted dying child returns to site of crash

Early Wednesday, Martha Griffin returned to the DeKalb County road where she comforted a dying boy less than 24 hours earlier. 

“I hate this,” she told “This does not need to happen.”

William Campbell, a 7-year-old student at Dunaire Elementary School in Stone Mountain, attempted to cross four lanes of traffic about 3 p.m. Tuesday when a Nissan SUV hit him. 

At the time, Griffin was driving on North Decatur Road.

“I blinked and a young boy got hit by a car,” she said.

Being a medical assistant and a mother of three, Griffin got out of her car and went to William’s side. He still had his book bag.

“I didn’t touch him,” Griffin said. “I just tried to keep him cool. It was so hot ... the sun was beating on him.”

His arm and neck appeared to be broken, she said.


Emergency personnel eventually arrived and took William to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston. He died a short time later.

RELATED: 7-year-old boy dies after being hit by car in DeKalb

According to DeKalb police spokeswoman Shiera Campbell, a crest in the road may have prevented the driver, who remained on the scene, from seeing William. She also said there is no crosswalk in the area.

No charges have been filed in the case, according to Campbell.

Griffin said she hopes the crash is a wakeup call for everyone and hopes it prompts change.

“We’ve got to do better,” Griffin said. “... This could be the beginning of something. This could be a lesson learned.” 

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