The father of a 16-year-old killed in a car crash was arrested for trying to build a higher guardrail on the side of a bridge where his daughter died.
Cecily Mcree Hamilton died after the car she was in with her boyfriend drove over the edge of a bridge in Gainesville, Georgia.
Shannon Hamilton, Cecily’s father, watched as police pulled the car out of the river below the bridge.
“I gave her a kiss and told her I loved her. Hugged her freezing body and said goodbye,” he told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Hamilton said the teens would not have died had there been a guardrail on the side of the bridge. Local officials agreed with the theory, but said that plans to build the guardrail were awaiting approval.
Hamilton felt progress was too slow, and he became worried that he’d have to witness another car being pulled from the river.
“Every day that goes by is another day that we’re risking a life that goes into that creek,” he said.
Hamilton then took it upon himself to get something done — bringing his own excavator to the bridge to help build the guardrail. According to WSB-TV, Hamilton was planning to build a berm — a temporary ledge that would help prevent cars from driving off of the bridge.
The berm was meant to provide a temporary solution while local officials figured out the permanent solution.
White County deputies arrived before Hamilton was able to finish his work, and tried to convince him to stop. Authorities notified him they would have to arrest him if he kept working on the berm.
The grieving father went back to work and was arrested for interference with government property. His son watched the arrest being made.
Hamilton told the Gainesville Times he was thankful the officials understood the problem.
“They had to do it,” he said. “They had no choice.”
After being released on bail, Hamilton received support from the local community.
Hamilton insisted he did not want to break the law but felt compelled to protect other families from experiencing what happened to him.
He also began speaking at Cecily’s high school about safe driving as a way to cope with what he went through.
“Tomorrow’s never promised,” he said. “It’s the way I’m grieving, and I’m staying positive to get through the days.”