ALICE DU PONT
A tragic car accident claimed the life of 9-year-old Quincy girl Makayla Woodard Sunday afternoon. According to a report released by Florida Highway Patrol, the crash occurred around 5:45 p.m. on State Road 267 (Bainbridge Road) near Kenon Lane about five miles north of Quincy.
The child and 1-year-old Chloe Akins were riding in a 1997 GMC 1500 driven by 20-year-old Quinesia Williams heading north. For unknown reasons, Williams’ vehicle crossed the center line, crashing into a 2005 F-250 Ford truck driven by 19-year-old Katherine King. The report stated King tried to avoid the accident but was unable to do so.
Williams, Woodard and Akins were not wearing seatbelts and were thrown from the vehicle. Williams and Akins were listed in critical condition at an area hospital while King was listed in serious condition.
Monday morning when Woodard’s classmates arrived at school, most had heard about the crash.
“They were very distraught, and all of the girls were crying. I only have three boys in the class and when they came in they began crying, too,” said Woodard’s teacher, Anita Allen.
The children were taken to the guidance counselor’s office where the school social worker and school psychologist as well as area clergy talked with students.
“We were basically trying to help them to understand, to be strong and continuously move forward. I had them play games, draw pictures or write about their feeling and Makayla. I wanted to keep then engaged,” Allen said.
Around 2 p.m. Monday students gathered on the playground. Most students held onto pink balloons (Makayla’s favorite color) and only let go of them when Allysun Davis, principal, said, “Release.”
School Superintendent Reginald James offered words of comfort to the students, as the sky filled with pink balloons.
Makayla’s father, Marlo Woodard, wiped tears away at the balloon release ceremony. He was accompanied by her 7-year-old sister, Makiya.
“She liked to play games and read books. She was very sweet, and she was very smart. She was just very nice and we will miss her” said one of her classmates.
FCAT testing, which was scheduled to begin Monday, April 5, was postponed at St. John Elementary School where Makayla was a third-grade student.