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Boy still in hospital after wreck
Dec. 21 collision injured four others
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Forsyth County News

The 7-year-old Sugar Hill boy injured in a Dec. 21 wreck has awakened from a five-day coma, but will remain hospitalized for some time, his mother said.

"The greatest Christmas gift we all got was life," Brandi Tudury said Friday. "We may all be ripped and torn and tattered right now, but at least we're alive and that's all that counts."

Tudury's son Brody was flown to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite Hospital, where he is being treated for a traumatic brain injury.

She said the child, a student at Sycamore Elementary in Buford, woke up Friday and can hear and move his eyes but cannot speak. She said doctors will have to conduct tests to determine if he can see.

The two-vehicle collision on Hwy. 20 (Buford Highway) at Sanders Road injured four other people, including Tudury and her 14-year-old daughter, Brittani, who was thrown from the vehicle.

The Lanier Middle School student broke her hand, leg and wrist and suffered several deep cuts, among other injuries.

She was released Wednesday from Scottish Rite, her mother said, and soon will begin using a walker and wheelchair to get around.

"She's still doing pretty bad and she's going to have to go into a lot of home health physical and occupational therapy," she said.

Tudury said her son also has a broken pelvis and arm. She asked for prayers for her family's recovery.

"It was very fortunate we didn't have a fatality in this wreck," said Forsyth County Sheriff's Capt. Frank Huggins.

Huggins said Christopher Lafferty, 36, of Carey, N.C., was cited for running a red light in the incident, which occurred about 4:12 p.m.

It appears Lafferty was heading west on Buford Highway in his 2003 Honda Accord when he broadsided a 2000 Ford Focus driven by Tudury, 33.

Huggins said Lafferty struck Tudury's left rear passenger door.

"We don't know why he ran the red light," Huggins said.

He said both Tudury and her daughter were first taken to North Fulton Regional Hospital, where the mother was treated for a cut to the head and released.

Huggins said the teenager was sitting in the left rear seat of the vehicle.

"The investigation at this point indicates everyone was wearing seat belts," Huggins said. "But (Brittani) was ejected."

Tudury's son, Huggins said, was "in the right rear passenger seat in a child seat and he was unconscious."

Tudury's mother, 59-year-old Mae Sullivan-Pettyjohn of Sugar Hill, also was injured in the collision.

Sullivan-Pettyjohn said Wednesday that she suffered a fractured vertebrae/broken neck. She was treated at North Fulton and released after three days.

Tudury said the wreck happened quickly.

"It was the hardest impact I've ever felt and the loudest noise I've ever heard," she said. "I looked in the back seat and Brody was out of his car seat ... His lips were blue, his face was blue, his eyes were open, he was nonresponsive and I thought he was dead.

"I looked up and Brittani was laying in the street, sprawled. I told my mom,'Oh my God, the kids are dead.'"

Lafferty was not injured, though Huggins said the man's 12-year-old daughter, Hannah, was treated at Northside Hospital-Forsyth and released.

Two other passengers in Lafferty's vehicle did not report any injuries.

Linda Dowling and her 17-year-old daughter were behind Tudury waiting for the traffic light to change. She said it appeared that Lafferty was unaware of the light and recalled the moment before he hit Tudury's car.

"I remember seeing his face when they impacted and it was just awful," she said. "After it happened, everybody just kind of froze ... when they hit, the cars slid and swerved a little bit."

Huggins said the westbound lanes of Buford Highway were shut down for about an hour and 45 minutes Sunday as a result of the wreck.

Tudury said she spent Christmas at the hospital with Brody while her husband, Anthony, spent the day at home with Brittani.

She said her family is grateful for the caring and compassion and "everything that was done for us" at the scene, thanking the sheriff's deputies, paramedics, witnesses and bystanders who helped.

"I can't put into words how grateful I am to everybody at the scene," Tudury said. "Brittani and Brody both would have been dead if Forsyth County hadn't acted so quick."