PAULDING COUNTY, Ga. - A Paulding County third grader has been identified as the young boy killed Monday in a head-on collision in southern Alabama that also killed his mother and a teenage driver.
Eight-year-old Larenz Graham and 35-year-old Landie Romulus were traveling with their family in Covington County, Alabama, when their Nissan Pathfinder was hit by a wrong-way driver. Graham was a student at W.C. Abney Elementary School in Dallas, according to Principal Scott Brock.
“It is with great sadness that I must inform you of the loss of one of our students, Larenz Graham,” Brock said Wednesday in a letter to parents. “Larenz was a third grader at our school who, along with his mother, passed away in a terrible automobile accident on Monday afternoon while the family was traveling in Alabama. Larenz’s father and two brothers remain hospitalized.”
According to the Alabama Highway Patrol, the family’s Nissan was hit in the southbound lanes on state Highway 55 after a northbound Chevrolet Camaro crossed a paved median into oncoming traffic.
The highway leads into the Florida Panhandle and is heavily traveled by tourists going to the beach, Alabama Highway Patrol Sgt. Drew Brooks said. It is unknown where the Graham family was headed Monday.
The crash remains under investigation, but investigators believe speed was the primary factor.
The driver of the Chevrolet, 18-year-old Joseph Cameron Worley, was killed. Graham also died at the scene, Brooks said.
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His mother, Romulus, was flown to a Pensacola hospital, where she later died. His father, 44-year-old Edwin Cornell Graham, and his 3-year-old and 11-year-old brothers were stable as of Tuesday morning, Brooks said. They are still being treated at the Florida hospital.
The victims' neighbors are still in shock.
"We're very, very sad," neighbor Jeffrey Morris said. "The two older boys would come over to play, and (ours) went over to their house and played."
Romulus was a physician’s assistant at Lifetime Family Medicine in Dallas. After announcing her death on its Facebook page, the practice was flooded with condolences from patients who said Romulus was a talented and caring medical provider.
Her co-workers have set up a GoFundMe page to help the family with funeral and medical expenses. The campaign has raised more than half its $10,000 goal as of Thursday.
While school is out for the summer, Brock said counselors will be available at Abney Elementary in the fall to talk with students who need support. They are also encouraging students to use a national crisis text line to speak to a trained crisis counselor by texting HELLO to 741741. Parents and students can find more information at crisistextline.org.
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