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Harsh Words for DUI Suspect Accused of Injuring Child | News

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Harsh Words for DUI Suspect Accused of Injuring Child

NEWNAN, GA -- The family of an 11-year-old Coweta County boy has strong words for a woman suspected of driving under the influence of drugs.

"As bad as I'd like to take a baseball bat and put her in the same shape that child is in, God's punishment is going to be worse than that," said Shirley Hardegree, grandmother of 11-year-old Tracy Blankenship Gaydoul.

Hannah Nicole Freeman, 27, is facing numerous charges, including DUI and serious injury by motor vehicle, after allegedly striking the child while driving on Welcome Arnco Road on Saturday afternoon.

Investigators say it is Freeman's second DUI arrest in the past 90 days.

"For my son to be alive, it's only God's mercy that he is," said Eddie Blankenship, the child's father.

Eddie Blankenship was walking hand-in-hand with his 11-year-old near their Coweta County home when a Honda Accord barreling toward them. According to the incident report, the car crossed into the wrong lane, left the roadway, and hit a mailbox.

Investigators say Tracy Blankenship Gaydoul tried to escape injury by running into a nearby yard, but the car struck him. He bounced off of the windshield and traveled about 30-feet, landing beneath a truck.

The child is in critical but stable condition at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston. According to his family, Tracy Blakenship Gaydoul has broken bones in his jaw, collar, and eye socket. Repairing his shattered legs, which have multiple broken bones, will take at least three surgeries.

"Men think they're strong," said Eddie Blankenship. "But when something like this happens, you find out how really weak you are."

Coweta County Sheriff's deputies believe Hannah Nichole Freeman was driving under the influence of drugs. They're awaiting the results of a blood test.

"She had slurred speech, unsteady on her feet, very incoherent," said Coweta Sheriff's Investigator Lt. John LaChance.

Investigators say Freeman has yet to stand trial for another DUI arrest.

"I hope she can't sleep," said the child's grandmother. "I hope it stays on her mind so bad it eats her alive."

Eddie Blankenship says the suspect attempted to flee the scene of the accident, but he refused to let her leave.

"I would try to find it in my heart to forgive you, but I can't," said Blankenship, addressing the suspect. "I'm going to have to let the Lord deal with that. You've just about taken the only thing in this world that I would die for."


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