Georgia elementary school dedicates butterfly garden to educator killed in crash

The chase began when Georgia State Patrol troopers tried to stop a Mini Cooper, which they clocked going 95 mph on I-75 in Gordon County, the state agency said in a statement. The driver, identified as 20-year-old Christopher Tyler Parker, allegedly refused to stop and continued south. He exited the interstate at Union Grove Road before continuing south on U.S. 41, the GSP said.

ExploreBartow County educator killed during police chase known to students as ‘mom’

Investigators said Parker ran a red light at the intersection of Ga. 140 and smashed into the side of Townsend’s Buick. After the collision, Townsend’s car was sent into the back of a Dodge pickup truck, causing minor injuries to the truck’s driver.

The GSP determined the Mini Cooper had been stolen from Parker’s grandmother. Parker was arrested at the scene and faces charges of vehicular homicide, fleeing and attempting to elude, receiving stolen property and bringing stolen property across state lines.

“Mrs. Townsend was such an amazing part of the White Elementary family,” Heater said in the days following the paraprofessional’s death. “She was truly a devoted staff member who put the needs of our children before her very own. She always had an amazing smile, sense of humor, and a determined, unbreakable spirit. She is going to be missed dearly.”

More than 15 community partners stepped in to provide planters, mulch and soil, Heater said. Townsend’s parents, Jim and Sandra Walker, said the act left them “speechless.”

“This was an overwhelming feeling for us,” they said, “and we felt that was the sweetest way to honor her. She loved White Elementary and her students.”

The community placed two rose bushes in the garden, Heater said, adding that they were Townsend’s “favorite pollinating plants.” It also contains gardenia bushes, a walking trail and a seating area for White Elementary classes to take part in outdoor learning.

The elementary school’s garden club will maintain it, she added.

“Angie would be overjoyed and say, ‘Y’all didn’t have to do all of this,’ and would just sit down and cry,” the Walkers said. “I don’t think she would imagine that she meant so much to so many people.”

REMEMBERING ANGIE TOWNSEND: White Elementary School Art Teacher Bridgette Ballard felt led to paint this picture of our beloved Angie. It captures Angie’s love of children perfectly.

Posted by Bartow County Schools on Thursday, October 8, 2020

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Local foundation dedicates memorial garden commemorating victims of addiction | Richmond Local News

Jill Cichowicz lost her twin brother, Scott Zebrowski, to an overdose in 2017. Cichowicz visited Zebrowski’s brick in the garden Saturday along with 11 family members, including her mother, Linda, and two young sons.

Linda said one of the last things her son told her before he died was that if something happened to him, he didn’t want his family to be ashamed to tell his story. Cichowicz helps run A Night For Scott, an annual local fundraiser for the Scott Zebrowski Scholarship Fund.

“We’ve cried every day, but we hope we can save somebody else’s life by telling Scott’s story,” Cichowicz said.

Dan Schneider has made it his life’s mission to save other people’s lives by sharing his son’s story in Netflix’s “The Pharmacist,” a documentary series detailing how Schneider has used his grief to help others heal.

Schneider’s son, Danny Jr., was fatally shot at the age of 22 while trying to buy crack in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward in April 1999. Schneider came to McShin’s event to speak, share his story and see a brick in the garden bearing his son’s name.

“I get a chance when I travel to tell my story, and if I can save a life in the process, it’s well worth it. [Addiction] is still horrible, and it isn’t getting better. This is a camaraderie of people who have lost their kids,” said Schneider, gesturing around him to the people milling about the garden, some smiling, some crying and hugging over bricks commemorating their lost loved ones.

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