By Natalie Simms
It has been a traumatic week for Santana Kelley and her fiance Joshua Bryson, both of Shannon. The couple, along with their 2-year-old son Cohen, was struck by a suspected drunken driver as they were returning home after visiting Bryson’s mother in Blairsville. Cohen was pronounced dead at the hospital and Kelley, who was 28 weeks pregnant with their second child, was airlifted to Erlanger Medical Center in Chattanooga. Bryson also suffered multiple rib fractures and damaged vertebrae in the crash.
Kelley, who had cuts to her head and arm from the accident, was recovering well this week when she went she began having contractions on Friday. Unable to stop her labor, Kelley delivered her baby at 10:21 p.m. Friday, a boy named Chandler Michael Bryson. He weighs one pound, seven ounces and is 12.5 inches long.
“He is on a ventilator in the NICU and having some breathing issues because of his lungs being underdeveloped. But the doctor says for his size, he is doing as well as can be expected,” says Rissa Kelley, Santana’s grandmother. “We can’t wait to see him. The hospital has restricted visitors now because of the coronavirus, so we’ve only been able to see Santana and baby via Facetime.”
Rissa and her sister, Amy Waters, have both been amazed at the outpouring of support and prayers for their family.
“It has been a nightmare but each day is getting better,” says Rissa. “We have just had such an outpouring from the community. So many people reaching out with gifts, money or food.”
Waters says, “We so appreciate all the prayers. That is what we need more than anything right now for the baby.”
The family will hold a private memorial for Cohen. Kelley and Bryson continue to recover at Erlanger. “Their broken heart is hurting worse than anything right now, but we are so grateful to everyone who has reached out to our family,” says Rissa.
About the accident: Background
From The News-Observer: Hunter Ethan Elliot, the 23-year-old Blue Ridge man charged in an accident that killed a Rome toddler and seriously injured two others, now faces 14 counts following that Sunday night collision. The latest