Child flown to hospital after being kicked in head by mule


Cherokee County sheriff's deputies and members of the marshal's office are trying to sort out a very bizarre series of events that started when two mules wandered onto a Canton property and ended up kicking a nine-year-old girl in the head.

CANTON, Ga. - Channel 2 Action News is finding out more about the investigation into a mule that seriously injured a 9-year-old girl.

A medical helicopter flew Emma Johnson to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston from Cherokee County not long after she was injured by that unsecured mule. It's a very sad and strange story that had investigators out looking for answers Wednesday.

Tim Byess collected his two escaped mules outside Canton about an hour after one of them kicked the girl in the head Tuesday.

"I'm sorry. You know, what do you say?" Byess said.

Byess said he had boarded the mules at a nearby stable. Cherokee County marshal's investigators said the animals somehow got out of their enclosed pasture, wandered down Nations Drive and onto Thomas Ross' property where Emma came to help corral and feed them.

"She approached the mule on the right-side rear. Strange mules, they kicked her, caught her in the head right there," Ross said.

While Emma recovers at the hospital, investigators are trying to put together all the pieces.

"It seems like a bizarre situation of how they escaped, just visiting the scene of the accident as well as to try and inspect the enclosure," said Alexa Houston with the Cherokee County marshal's office.

Houston said they'll look for any evidence of negligence, like a poorly maintained fence or an open gate, both against county code.

"We could issue them a warning or a citation, and as far as punishment goes, that would be determined by the judge," Houston said.

A hospital spokesperson could not give Channel 2 an update on Emma's health Wednesday, because the family has requested privacy.

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