Street renamed to honor victim of brain injury

Timothy Cox/Staff
Several political figures joined Jackie Boatwright in celebrating the renaming of Lincolnton Parkway after her son, Anthony DeJuan Boatwright. Pictured from left: State Rep. Wayne Howard (D-Ga.), Richard Ingram, state Rep. Gloria Frazier (D-Ga.); commissioner Alvin Mason, congressman John Barrow (D-Ga.), mayor Deke Copenhaver, Jackie Boatwright, the Rev. Kenneth Davis, commissioners Corey Johnson and Calvin Holland, Richmond County school board member Joe Scott and state Rep.(D-Ga.) Billy Mitchell. .

The unveiling of the sign that reads "Anthony DeJuan Parkway" represents one in a series of victories for Jackie Boatwright and her son, Juan.

On May 5, federal, state and local officials gathered for a ceremony that officially marked the renaming of Lincolnton Parkway in south Augusta for Juan. The Augusta Commission had voted 8-2 on April 15 to rename the street.

Juan, now 7, was left brain-damaged after he nearly drowned in a bucket of water diluted with bleach at a home day care center on Lincolnton Parkway in 2001. He was 14 months old at the time.

In December 2003, Ms. Boatwright won a $33 million negligence lawsuit against the day care center. In 2004, Georgia passed Juan's Law, requiring day care centers to disclose whether they have liability insurance.

In 2006, U.S. Rep. John Barrow, D-Ga., who attended the renaming ceremony, introduced the Anthony DeJuan Boatwright Act, which would withhold federal Child Care and Development block grants from states that don't approve similar laws. The bill passed in the U.S. House last year and is in committee in the Senate.

Ms. Boatwright said the ceremony marking the renaming of the busy street was gratifying.

"I was humbled that they took time from their busy schedules and that my son will have a street named in his honor. This is for all children, and it displays how important it is to take care of children. We're elated," she said.

Although Juan still suffers from a major brain injury, his mother remains confident about his recovery and says his condition has improved markedly since the accident.

Ms. Boatwright has written a book and plans to produce a motion picture about the ordeal.

Reach Timothy Cox at (706) 823-3217 or tim.cox@augustachronicle.com.

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