The family of an 8-year-old boy who died from injuries suffered when he was hit by a car while trying to get on his school bus asked for justice Tuesday. The family of the young man who killed the child asked for mercy.
At the end of an emotional hearing in Richmond County Superior Court, 21-year-old Scott W. Hancock was led out of the courtroom to begin serving a three-year prison term. He will have an additional seven years on probation when released.
It was about 7 a.m. on Dec. 9, 2013, when Jaidyn Williams crossed Belair Road to reach a waiting school bus. His older brother had just gotten to the bus when a Chrysler minivan traveling west on Belair struck Jaidyn.
“You made me break my promise that I would never let anything bad ever happen to him,” Jaidyn’s mother Tiffany Williams said Tuesday as tears rolled down her cheeks, mirroring most of the faces in the courtroom.
To see her child in such agony and be helpless to save him that day was a pain only matched Dec. 26, 2013, when Jaidyn died and she had to tell her other children that he was gone, she said.
Dec. 9 was the worse day of Hancock’s life. From being the one who always followed the rules, always jumped in to help others, and the one who pined for a career as a Marine, Hancock couldn’t believe it happened, he said.
“Every day I think about that day and I hear Mrs. Williams screaming,” Hancock said.
He’s afraid of children now, Rachel Hancock said of her son. He can’t sleep because of the nightmares. He throws up constantly, she said.
He remembers every minute, everything said after it happened, Hancock said. But he doesn’t understand why it happened. He saw the bus and the flashing yellow lights but it didn’t register.
That morning Hancock was doing what he normally did, helping his family by taking his sister to school and returning home to take his disabled mother for medical tests, said defense attorney Rodney Quesenberry. Hancock just did what everyone does sometimes when driving – he zoned out.
Accident reconstruction officers couldn’t determine Hancock’s exact speed, but the speed limit on the road is 40 mph, said Assistant District Attorney Hank Syms. There was no indication of drugs or alcohol in Hancock’s system, he said.
But school buses are designed like they are so that they can be easily identified, Syms said. At 7 a.m., a driver would have to assume children would be nearby.
“He could not have been watching at all,” Syms said. Jaidyn was walking to the bus, not running after a ball.
There are only three ways for vehicle homicide to be a felony – drugs or alcohol use, reckless conduct or going around a school bus, Syms said, adding that the only justice was a lengthy sentence.