AUSTELL, Ga. -- It was more than an hour before sunrise on Thursday morning. The final weeks of summer stretched out before 10-year-old Kennade Patterson. She was headed to 5th grade, her final year at Annette Winn Elementary School before moving up to middle school. She was an honor roll student, active in clubs and activities.
But this was two weeks before the start of school in Douglas County. The early morning hours in Austell were humid and hot.
Kennade stood beside her 16-year-old sister and her 12-year-old brother at the edge of Maxham Road. They weren't supposed to be there.
Their mother was working an overnight shift at a hospital. Their father was on the road as a truck driver. Their grandmother was watching them. As she slept, they snuck out for a simple childish reason: they wanted potato chips.
They debated going to the Kroger or the gas station, and the indecision landed the siblings on separate sides of the road. As Kennade was crossing the street, she was hit by a car. A spokesperson for the Georgia State Patrol said the 32-year-old driver never saw her in the road, but he saw her siblings on the opposite shoulder.
The driver told investigators he knew he hit something, he just didn't know it was a 10-year-old girl. As he called 911, Kennade's 16-year-old sister ran to her. It was too late. She died at the scene.
Surveillance video from the gas station obtained by 11Alive News shows the siblings running home to wake their grandmother to the terrible news.
The school was quick to react and express their condolences:
It is with great sadness that we have lost Kennade, a rising 5th grade student at Annette Winn Elementary School," said Principal Sherritta Abel. "She was an honor student who was involved in several academic clubs and extracurricular activities.
We send our heartfelt sympathy to her family. She will be greatly missed by the students, teachers, staff and the entire Annette Winn Family.