Girl kicked by mule remains hospitalized
by Joshua Sharpe
January 08, 2014 12:02 AM | 2958 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Emma Johnson
Emma Johnson
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CANTON — A 9-year-old Canton girl who was kicked in the head by a mule on New Year’s Eve remains hospitalized in Atlanta, an attorney representing her family confirmed Monday.

Emma Johnson was flown to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston Pediatric Hospital in critical condition last Tuesday after the mule got out of a neighbor’s pin and kicked her in the head outside her house in the Clayton community, authorities said.

S. Alexandra Manning, an attorney representing Johnson’s family, said the child has remained in the hospital since then, and many have expressed their concern and regret for the tragic incident.

“We would like to extend our sincere thanks for all the thoughts and prayers from family, friends and well-wishers as Emma recovers from the injuries she sustained in this devastating accident,” Manning said in a news release late Saturday. “The family would also like to express their appreciation for the doctors, nurses and hospital staff at Egleston for the round-the-clock care and service they have provided since Emma was flown in.”

Manning did not provide further details about Johnson’s condition, but confirmed Monday night Emma was still in the hospital. Egleston representatives have declined to release any information or even confirm the child was a patient.

Manning said the family hopes for privacy.

“As you can imagine, this has been a taxing and formidable time for the family,” she said. “They would appreciate privacy as Emma works toward recovery.”

Anyone wishing to help can make donations to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, Manning added.

Johnson’s next-door neighbor, Thomas Ross, said last week Emma and her mother were trying to round up two mules and put them in their corral, after the animals were found wandering near their house on Green Drive.

Authorities said the mules were spotted by a person who called 911 at about 3:30 p.m. Johnson was kicked minutes later when she approached one of the mules.

“You could just hear the pop where it hit her,” Ross said, standing at the spot in front of his corral where she was kicked.

Ross said he heard Johnson’s mother cry out and saw the mule run off, as the child laid unconscious. Johnson was taken by ambulance to Chalcedonia Baptist Church on Highway 5, where she was boarded onto a helicopter and flown to the Atlanta hospital.

The mules stayed in Ross’ corral until the owner, Tim Byess, came to pick them up. They had wandered out of a pen on Nations Drive, which intersects with Green Drive, authorities said.

Alexa Huston, spokeswoman for the Cherokee County Marshal’s Office, said Byess has not been charged.

“There was no negligence found after inspecting the enclosure where the mules were being kept,” Huston said Monday. “This was an unfortunate accident. It seemed that part of the fence was washed by flooding, since the area backs up to the Etowah River.”

The attorney said in the letter that while she is representing the family, there is no intention to sue the owner.

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