• Distracted driver caused crash that killed deputy's 4-year-old granddaughter, authorities say

    By: Matt Johnson

    Updated:

    PAULDING COUNTY, Ga. - Four-year-old Alora Rose Sell was a brand new preschool student with plenty to look forward to. 

    “She was so excited. She had her Hello Kitty backpack and she had to show it to everybody," her mother said.

    Haley Sell remembers her daughter Alora’s love for dancing and people—especially her baby sister. 

    But memories are all the family has left after authorities say a distracted driver caused the crash that killed her in Paulding County on Tuesday. 

    “It breaks my heart. That’s the reason my daughter is not with me,” Haley Sell told Channel 2’s Matt Johnson.

    The mother said she was about to turn into her dad’s driveway off Ga. 101 on Tuesday afternoon when she saw a speeding truck in her rear-view mirror.

    “I was, like, I saw it and then we were flipping,” she said. 

    Haley Sell said she, Alora and her 3-year-old son were hit from behind. Their minivan landed in a ditch near Honeysuckle Lane.

    “I just kept saying ‘Alora, Alora, are you OK?’ I never heard a sound come out of her,” Haley said.

    The 4-year-old died later that day, a month before her fifth birthday. 


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    Troopers with Georgia State Highway Patrol said the 20-year-old driver admitted he dropped a bottle and his phone onto the floor of his truck. The report says he told deputies he was leaning down to pick up the items, but he couldn’t stop in time to avoid the van.

    Now, the little girl's mother says she wants no one else to know her pain.

    “You’re not just responsible for you or your passengers. You’re responsible for everyone else on the road," Haley Sell said.

    State troopers told Channel 2 that charges are pending against the driver as a followup investigation is underway. 

    The Paulding County Sheriff's Office shared a GoFundMe that has been created to assist the family with funeral costs and other expenses. Alora was the granddaughter of a detention officer for the county. 

    More than $11,000 in donations have poured into the GoFundMe page as of Tuesday night. The goal is $20,000.

    Information from our investigative partners with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution was used in this report. 

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