NEWTON COUNTY, Ga. — Stunned and grieving family and friends of Demario Battle embraced each other in tears at Dean Rusk Park in Atlanta Wednesday night, wanting to know what caused the construction-site tragedy that killed him Tuesday.
Battle was helping dismantle a roadway bridge in Newton County when a section of the bridge collapsed into the Yellow River, killing him and injuring two others.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigators are just beginning to dig into the cause.
“He was a good boy,” Battle’s aunt, Barbara Davis, said, weeping. “He always kept a smile on his face. And we’re going to miss him.”
Davis said Battle, at 33, had nine children, ages three to 15.
“He was a good brother, man, he was caring, loving,” said Battle’s brother, Antoine Jacquin Morrison, “he took care of his kids.”
Morrison said Battle worked hard for his family and loved his job. Morrison said Battle had only recently gone to work for the construction company that was dismantling the old roadway bridge in Newton County.
“And I hate that it happened,” Davis said. "It was a terrible, terrible, terrible accident.”
“He was a loving person,” said Morrison. "And we’re going to forever miss him.”
The OSHA investigation into the cause of the bridge collapse is only just beginning, and Battle’s family said that no one will want to know the answers more than Battle’s nine children, who will want to know why they have to grow up without him.