Child dies in crash, school mourns

By Courtney Lane - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

GLADEWATER, TX (KLTV) - A horrible wreck on Highway 271 took the life of four-year-old Jonathan King, Jr. Jonathan's family says it was all an accident - that the grandmother, who was driving, was looking back to tell the kids something, when she hit a culvert and lost control. According to DPS, none of the kids were wearing seat belts.

Jonathan was named after his father, who was only 25-years-old when he was shot and killed by a Gladewater police officer in 2005, under controversial circumstances. The City of Gladewater ended up settling with the King family. Now, they've lost their baby, and Gladewater Primary School has lost one of their own.

"This was taken at our field trip to the park just a two weeks ago," said Amanda Rawlings, Jonathan's teacher.

Rawlings took a picture of Jonathan earlier Wednesday as his class carved pumpkins.

"That's they way I'll remember him," said Rawlings. "[He had] just the biggest smile on his face while he was in there carving that pumpkin so that was fun to watch."

But now, those smiles are replaced by a big emptiness.

"To walk into the room and see his name everywhere and his crafts that he's done hanging on the walls [is] very difficult," said Rawlings.

Gladewater's superintendent, Dr. J.P. Richardson, says counselors are on hand at school and they're offering support to the family.

"When it does involve not just one, two, three, four but five students in Gladewater, it is tough to swallow at times," said Richardson.

Jonathan's sister Kaila is recovering at Children's Hospital in Dallas. She and the other kids are expected to recover but some will have to undergo surgeries.

"I know they're going to need a lot of support and prayers because it's going to be a long recovery for Kaila and the family," said Rawlings.

It's no doubt that, in the last three years, Ms. Rawlings made an impact in little Jonathan's life, but she says he touched her more than anyone can ever know.

"Friends with everyone, I mean, all of the kids just loved him and he was, you know, just a great child who stole my heart," said the teacher. "Sweet little boy. He will be missed"

DPS is still investigating the crash and, at this time, no charges have been filed.

Now, if you would like to help the family, they say you can give to Citizens National Bank of Kilgore, under the grandfather's name, Michael Caton.

©2009 KLTV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.