Charges have been officially dropped against a grieving father arrested April 12 for trying to put up safety barriers at his daughter’s wreck site.
“I spoke with the defendant personally (Monday) and he assured me there would be no repeat of this conduct and I agreed to dismiss his charges,” Enotah Judicial Circuit District Attorney Jeff Langley said Tuesday.
White County Sheriff Neal Walden said Friday his office would recommend a felony interference with government property charge be dropped against Shannon Hamilton.
Hamilton was arrested by White County Sheriff’s Office deputies at the bridge where his daughter Cecily Mcree Hamilton, 16, and driver Taylor Scott Swing, 18, both of Cleveland, died.
Hamilton was later released on a $5,000 bail. A video of his arrest has garnered millions of views.
Langley said he filed paperwork late Monday in the White County clerk’s office dismissing the case.
“I expressed to (Hamilton) my sympathies for the tragedy his family had suffered, and he was very apologetic about his actions,” the prosecutor said. “I was very understanding of the grief he was suffering.”
Walden also has expressed similar emotions about the case.
“Who’s to say, you or I or anyone wouldn’t have done the same thing?” Walden said. “But that doesn’t preclude the fact that there are laws and we have to abide by the laws.”
At the time of his arrest, Hamilton said he was outraged that White County had not acted fast enough to at least put temporary barricades at the bridge, which is near Water Cress Road, while working toward a more permanent solution.
The car carrying Cecily Hamilton and Swing went off the shoulder of Gene Nix Road and was found March 15 submerged in a creek that flows under the road, according to Georgia State Patrol.
“Daddy was on a mission,” Shannon Hamilton said last week of his actions. “My baby girl told my heart, ‘Move forward, Daddy. Let’s do it.’”
Speaking on the matter Tuesday, Hamilton said Langley “made it clear if we try to do any more help to improve other bridges, which we plan to do, there are appropriate measures we need to take to do that.”
He paused for a bit, then added: “Message received.”
County officials placed barricades at the bridge Wednesday and now are planning to install guardrails next week.
County Clerk Shanda Murphy said Tuesday the White County Board of Commissioners had approved up to $20,000 in expenses for the work, which is set to be finished by April 29.
Hamilton said he has noticed this week where workers had laid out stakes and, based on possible dimensions of the guardrails, “it looks like they’re going to be very effective.”