The worst nightmare of any parent is unfolding at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH), and has been since last Friday.
Brenae Timmons, 3, lies in an induced coma while doctors wait for the swelling in her brain to subside. She yawns and moves her arms and legs, but following surgery over the weekend she remains critical, and her prognosis guarded. All that parents, Bernard Timmons and Keisha Reneau can do is watch, wait and pray.
Brenae was knocked unconscious, her skull fractured after a heavy metal gate fell on her at the Lloyd Coffin pre-school at the Lake Independence Community Centre. Her father works at the public library there, and the child had gone there with her mother to wait for him that evening. She was playing in the front of the yard when tragedy struck.
One eyewitness passed by the school on her way to the shop. She recalls seeing children playing near the heavy gate, but says they weren’t touching it – “when I turned back from the shop, I heard screaming. I could see the gate drop on the ground and I heard bawling. When I gone close, I see the same baby weh mi deh close to the gate when I lee while left…I see the gate drop pan ah.”
The Reporter understands that the construction of the gate was incomplete, so it did not have the guard at the top which would have stopped it from falling. When it toppled over, it fell directly on three-year-old Timmons, knocking her to the ground in an unconscious state. The eyewitness claims her skull was crushed, and she was bleeding from her nose and mouth.
Today friends of the family contacted the Reporter to claim that first reports were wrong. They told us that the child was not playing with the gate as has been suggested. They say the mother was in the front of the yard with her as they waited for her father to finish work. Some older children were playing on the fence and rolling the gate from side to side, they claim, and it was actually a couple of those children who pushed the gate over and onto the child.
They told the Reporter that Reneau saw the gate falling and tried to reach her daughter in time, but was too late. It was her screams that alerted Bernard Timmons and that’s when he ran out of the library and lifted the gate of his unconscious daughter. The couple then rushed the child to the KHMH in their own vehicle rather than wait for an ambulance.
The family has been at the bedside of their badly injured daughter since, and has declined to speak to the media. We are told that the swelling to the brain has gone down, but very slowly and so doctors are hard pressed to accurately determine the extent of the injuries.