February 14, 2015
On Monday night a 13 year old boy was killed, the victim of a horrible hit and run accident here in Newnan.
Young Parker Madliak was walking home from a friends home around 9:30 that night on a dark Newnan road when he was struck and killed by a Ford F150 pick up truck driven by 17 year old Cody Landry.
Landry turned himself in to police when he learned later what he thought had been a deer he had hit was actually a young boy walking on the shoulder of the road. Landry even posted pictures of his trucks broken headlight on social media joking that he had hit a deer.
Some people are being pretty judgmental on social media now calling Landry a killer and everyone has an opinion of how this case should end for Landry. There are two sides to this story and neither has a happy ending.
IEither Landry knew he hit that young boy and ran, making up a story to post on social media to cover for himself, or he honestly believed he hit a deer Monday night. Only he knows the answer. One thing is for certain. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation will uncover the truth and there will be people plenty of people that will not agree with the results.
This tragic incident reminded me of an accident that I was involved in several years ago. It was back in the early 90’s when I was driving to visit a client out in Stockbridge, Georgia. It was about 5:30 am when I was driving down this very dark two lane back road. I was probably traveling about 45 – 50 miles per hour down that road listening to the news radio station when I was passed by an oncoming pick up truck.
Milliseconds before that truck passed me, there was a very loud and hard hit against my side of my car. I distinctly remember seeing an object in the headlights of the oncoming truck but it was so sudden I had no time to react or even comprehend what it was. I just knew that something slammed very hard into my car.
I immediately pulled over, as did the other driver to see what I had hit. It was so dark that neither of us could see anything on the road around us.
The front end of the truck was damaged as was the entire side of my car. The truck had actually hit something and thrown it into the side of my car as we passed each other. There was no blood, just damage.
We both looked everywhere and could not figure out what we had hit. Neither of us had a flashlight. Was it a person, a deer? We just didn’t know. We just knew that we needed to find out before either of us left.
We called 911 and in minutes a police officer arrived. The cop shined his spotlight across the entire area, and there, about 30 feet off the shoulder lay a deer. You cannot imagine our relief. The guy driving the truck stood there with his hands together looking up at the dark sky thanking Jesus for it not being a person.
I tell you this story because even though Landry said he thought he had hit a deer, no where have I read that he stopped and looked to see what he had hit that night. That puzzles me a bit. Maybe he did and I just haven’t found the story anywhere. I also haven’t seen the police report.
I did see photos of the damage to his trucks headlight which didn’t appear to be major. Nothing that would have disabled his truck. I just cannot understand why he didn’t at least stop and examine the damage. Could Cody have stopped and rendered life saving aid to his victim? Perhaps. Even if he had stopped he may not have even seen the boy laying on the road side. A deer might have run away and died in the darkness. We weren’t there. We just don’t know. My gut tells me he honestly didn’t know he had struck a kid and being an immature teen he just kept on driving.
Deer vs vehicle accidents are very common here. Some are very bad and others so minor you really wouldn’t need to stop. At least not if you were positive it wasn’t a human.
I cannot tell you how many close calls I’ve had at night and in the day time driving down Cedar Creek Rd. near my home. On one occasion I thought I might have clipped a deer but I didn’t stop. It was a close call. On another occasion in a different town I did hit and kill a small deer in the daylight. It busted my right headlight and felt like I had hit a small tree. I was driving a VW Golf at the time and only traveling about 35 miles per hour. I stopped that time because I knew there was damage and needed a police report for my insurance claim.
I think everyone on both sides of thought need to sit back wait until the investigation is over. You folks should leave Cody Landry alone and let the Madliak family grieve.
This could have happened to anyone of you that night or any night for that matter. We can all agree that Cody Landry never set out that night to kill anyone and he is most certainly the one forced to live with the death of an innocent child.
No matter the outcome of the GBI investigation, this was still a horrible accident.
Shame on those of you jumping to conclusions and getting the hanging tree ready. It could just as easily been you, your son or daughter driving down that dark road that night. -JRoycroft