Irmo mayor opens up about tragic park accident - - Columbia, South Carolina |

Irmo mayor opens up about tragic park accident

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Caution tape remains at the site where Jacoby Latta was killed. Caution tape remains at the site where Jacoby Latta was killed.

For the first time since Saturday's death of 3-year-old Jacoby Latta, Irmo's mayor is talking about what happened.

The little boy was at a church picnic at Irmo Community Park when a tree limb fell and hit him on the head. The boy died hours later at a hospital.

Mayor Hardy King says the tree was healthy, but the limb that fell was rotting.

"It's a shock. It's a tragic thing. It's a difficult thing," said King.

Tree crews are inspecting the park. They have already cut down some unhealthy limbs and will remove some trees. King says tree inspections are common at the park, but not foolproof.

"You can walk around and look up, and as long as you see green leaves, everything is fine. Inside may be bad though, and I think that's what happened here," said King. "We'll never know 100-percent what caused it and why it fell at that moment."

At Tuesday night's council meeting, Brenda McClain told council she was at the park Saturday and called 911. She says the 911 system did not work like it should have.

"I had a really hard time getting EMS dispatched," said McClain.

McClain says the 911 operator did not know the park address, and neither did she. Mayor King promised to look into the issue, and says they'll consider putting emergency call boxes in the park.

He says they're taking steps to make sure all parks in Irmo are safe, but says Saturday's accident is proof that you never know what's going to happen.

"All you can do is tell people you love them every day, every moment. They walk out that door and go somewhere and there's no guarantee of safety," said King.

Irmo Community Park is expected to reopen by Thursday.

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