Local News

Grandfather: 'No hard feelings' toward truck driver who hit girl

Posted August 30, 2012

— The grandfather of a 7-year-old Rocky Mount girl who was killed while crossing the road Thursday morning says he has no hard feelings toward the truck driver who hit her.

Janell Simmons, a first-grader at G.W. Bulluck Elementary School, was crossing N.C. Highway 43 between Nobles Mill Pond and Clover roads shortly before 7 a.m., thinking that a passing bus was hers, troopers said.

Instead, she walked into the path of a 2002 Ford pickup truck, driven by Eddie Suggs of Rocky Mount. Suggs told troopers he saw the bus coming and started to slow down but that he did not see Janell until it was too late. She was taken to Nash General Hospital, where she died.

Troopers did not charged Suggs, who was driving under the speed limit – 45 mph in a 55 mph zone – at the time of the crash.

Janell was waiting for the bus, along with three of her siblings, who all lived with their grandparents. Danny Simmons, her grandfather, said he heard about the crash after getting out of the shower.

"I ran out into the road where she was at and found my little baby laying in the ditch," he said.

7-year-old Rocky Mount girl struck, killed by truck Rocky Mount girl struck, killed by truck

Simmons remembered his granddaughter as a little girl who "liked having a good time, singing (and) making people laugh."

"She always wanted to make a difference in someone’s life, always found some way to make a joke out of something. I call her my little joker," he said.

Simmons says he doesn't blame Suggs for Janell's death.

“I felt his pain. There’s no hard feelings. We all lost today," Simmons said.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • cakem92 Sep 5, 2012

    This was not a truck driver. this was a pick up driver. I am a truck driver and there is a big difference between the two. I feel sorry for the family of both parties involved though. my thoughts and prayers go out to them both.

  • logansmith0202 Sep 4, 2012

    All kidding aside, will someone please help me get what happened? I just don't understand this.

    She saw a bus coming down the road and just ran into the street because she thought it was hers? Is this normal protocol for bus riding? No, it's not. Then why did she?

    If it was her bus, were the lights flashing? Was it slowing down? Did she have any indication that is was, it fact, her bus?
    If she was with other children, did they try to stop her or say, "No, that's not our bus" and if it was, why didn't she know to wait until it stopped completely and the arm was out in front?
    I just don't understand what happened at all....

    Am I missing something?

  • soyousay Aug 31, 2012

    If a parent has to drop their child off at a bus stop they would know they kids are in a clearly marked area for a bus stop...

    really. and you would have hem stand in the rain, cold or whatever at this designated place. Are you willing to pay for a shelter?

  • fishon Aug 31, 2012

    Surely you dont think a deer's safety is more important than our communities children??

    Really? You think deer crossing signs are for the deer's safety?
    That's the best one I've heard all day!

  • charmcclainlovesdogs2 Aug 31, 2012

    If they were in the crosswalk, then legally they have the right of way.


    In the country and rural areas, there is no cross-walks. Not everyone lives in the city.

  • airbornemonty Aug 31, 2012

    It breaks my heart everytime that I read about a child getting killed and I always wonder what might the child have become if they had had the chance to grow up.

  • connieleigh4 Aug 31, 2012

    I don't understand why children this small were left, unsupervised, while waiting for the bus. My children waited in the house or I stayed with them until they were picked up. Such a tragic event that shouldn't of happened at all. Prayers for all involved.

  • foghat001 Aug 31, 2012

    greg69innc, your ideas would just cost the taxpayers much money to no effect, not to mention infuriating people who are going to work, and don't have time to 'crawl' the whole way there

    there's a balance between the safety needs, and the practical needs

  • Obamacare returns yet again Aug 31, 2012

    Prayers going up....

  • ezLikeSundayMorning Aug 31, 2012

    It was a classy thing for him to go out of his way to try to comfort the driver. We can see the driver is not at fault and the driver probably knows himself, but having the little girls grandfather express it is a good thing.