Normally, Jaylin Willis, 3, is a talkative, curious tyke with a lot of energy. After falling nearly 20 feet into a storm drain he was less talkative and not as curious.
"He really doesn't want to play," said Brittany Willis, his mother. "He doesn't want to do nothing, just sit and stare."
Willis doesn't know if it is the pain medicine, the shock of the ordeal, or the strangers that have Jaylin so subdued. Whatever the cause, she is just happy he's alive.
The toddler tumbled into the drain Thursday evening, and that's when the screaming began.
The screams drew the attention of some teenagers playing basketball just up the street.
One of them, Duntray Murray, started to climb down into the drain but stopped partway down because it was deeper than he thought.
After climbing out, one of his friends tried to climb down to get Jaylin, but when he started to feel his shoes slipping on the walls, he too came back up to avoid falling on the child.
That's when Murray decided to give it another go. Murray, who is smaller in stature than his friends, posed the least risk of landing on the child if he slipped.
Once back inside he made his way down the hole until the bricks began to get slimy. Telling Jaylin to stay back, he dropped the rest of the way down.
Landing in water, Murray describes the inside of the storm drain with one word: gross.
Scooping up Jaylin, Murray held the child while they waited for help. One of the other boys ran to his home and got a rope and a ladder.
The ladder was no good, but a loop was fashioned with the rope and they lowered it down.
Shortly after that, first responders showed up on the scene and were able to hoist the boys out of the drain.
Murray only suffered a bump on the head, which he got on the way out of the hole.
Jaylin was taken to the hospital for X-rays. His mother says they show he fractured his jaw. He also has bruises, a large knot on the back of his head, and received a handful of stitches to his chin.
Willis was in the house getting a bottle for her newborn when the accident happened.
When she heard the screaming and ran out of the house to see what was going on, she thought the child had been hit by a car. When she realized he was at the bottom of the storm drain she started to panic.
Unable to see to the bottom of the hole, she was thankful someone went down.
"I don't have no other words to say but thank you for being down there with him and keeping him calm."
According to the City of Atlanta's Department of Watershed Management, there are more than 25,000 manholes in the city. A spokesman for the department says there is no way they can all be checked daily, and they have to rely on the public to let them know when there is a problem.
To report a problem with a manhole, the Department of Watershed Management can be reached at (678) 300-5087.
Copyright 2014 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
Tuesday, April 20 2010 11:21 PM EDT2010-04-21 03:21:00 GMT
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