‘He can die:’ Macon family speaks out against GDOT project

MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – A Macon family says a Georgia Department of Transportation project is jeopardizing their son’s life.

Darrell Johns, who goes by the nickname Peanut, is just like any other teenager. He likes to hang out and play drums with pots and pans, but he suffers from a rare condition called Hydrocephalus and seizures.

Hydrocephalus is a condition that causes fluid build up in the brain. Peanut suffers from seizures every four to six weeks.

“Never thought that I would be changing diapers for my 16-year-old son. He has a G-tube. I have to feed him three times a day. I have to lift him put him in the tub, get him out, dress him,” Leslie Johns says.

She says if his rescue medicines don’t work while he’s having a seizure, they have to call for an ambulance immediately.

Johns is by Peanut’s side every day. She says it’s stressful dealing with Peanut’s day-to-day issues, and now she has another worry.

A project the GDOT is working on, will close off direct access to his home on Avondale Mill Road.

“Should I live everyday wondering if my son’s going to die because he can’t get access to an ambulance?” Johns questioned.

She says the project was originally going to expand Avondale Mill Road to five lanes and have a turn lane.

“And now in the last couple weeks we realized that they are putting in a concrete median,” she said.

Crews are building the median in front of their home.

Ambulance drivers will now have to go a half mile up the road to turn around. Johns says that’s an extra couple of minutes Peanut may not have.

In a statement from GDOT it says, “They took the family’s concerns seriously, and they are now working with all associated parties – including Macon-Bibb County, which has jurisdiction of the roads – to consider possible alternatives. As the project took several years to plan and finalize, it will take more than a couple of weeks to sort them out and determine the best course of action.”

Johns says the situation is making her feel helpless.

“It’s not me against them. It’s Darrell. He’s the one that’s going to win or lose,” she said.

Johns says she would like GDOT to make an opening in the median in front of her home.

Johns says Peanut’s doctor is writing a letter to GDOT that will better describe his condition and the importance of ambulance access.

Categories: Bibb County, Local News

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