Amid festivities, a tragedy: Woman backs over grandson
By CRAIG SCHNEIDER The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Published on: 12/27/04
A night of Christmas caroling turned tragic when a Powder Springs grandmother, backing up her car, ran over and killed her 4-year-old grandson.
Jackson Peck and his grandmother, Rosamond Peck, were extremely close, relatives said. She recently had taken him ice skating at Centennial Olympic Park, and the boy delighted her as he skated alone for the first time.
Jackson's death Thursday transformed a family holiday weekend into a scramble to prepare a funeral for the boy who loved dressing up in big rubber boots, camouflage pants and a Superman shirt. At the boy's funeral today, family members plan to don similar shirts in tribute to Jackson.
Thursday night, Jackson and his grandmother attended a family Christmas party in Paulding County. The two were outside preparing to travel to a children's party and then around the subdivision singing holiday songs. Police, who are investigating, say Rosamond Peck did not see Jackson as she backed her car out of the driveway about 7:30 p.m.
Several children, including some of Jackson's cousins, saw the car roll over the boy, and an uncle attempted to revive him before authorities arrived, relatives said.
" My heart is so heavy right now," said the boy's father, Smith Peck of Marietta. "He was just a boy — all boy."
Jay Peck, the boy's uncle who had tried to revive him, said the holiday party was in full swing when the accident occurred. While some relatives were putting cakes and cookies on the dinner table, other people were collecting outside to go caroling. Rosamond Peck was among those who were to drive them, he said.
As she prepared to drive her car down the driveway on Lake Tanisha Drive, her eyesight was obstructed by the headlights of a car in front of her, Jay Peck said. She undid her seat belt and opened her door to look behind, but Jackson had been standing on the other side of the car, he said." My boy witnessed it," Jay Peck said of his 13-year-old son, Lanne.
One of Jackson's teenage cousins, Troy Peck, had reached out to yank the boy out of the way but couldn't get to him. Both boys are struggling to deal with the death.
Friends and family have formed a protective cocoon around Rosamond Peck, 64, who they say is plunged in grief and remorse.
" She is hurting worse than we are," Smith Peck said. "The burden will be harder on her. She and he were very close."
Peck was one of those grandparents who all but lived for her grandchildren, relatives said. She danced with them. She got down on the floor and rolled around with them. She even took one granddaughter to a Dixie Chicks concert. For a laugh, family members bought her leather pants to wear to the show, family friend Steve Marcinko said.
" It makes it all the more tragic," he said.
Despite her grief, Peck visited her grandchildren on Christmas Day, as she always has.
" We tried to make it as normal as we could," Jay Peck said. But he acknowledged the holiday was "horrible."
On Sunday, the boy's parents, Smith and Julie Peck, greeted mourners at Bellamy Funeral Home in Powder Springs, and the family bought the Superman shirts they plan to wear today at Jackson's funeral.
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