Decatur Co. community shaken by tragic accident

Published 6:12 pm Friday, October 24, 2014

1,260 hours.

That’s approximately how long educators have students in class based on a typical 180-day school year, meaning about 14 percent of a youth’s year is spent in school. That gives students and educators a significant amount of time to impact one another on various levels.

The time spent together can make a school community seem more like a family, and when one is lost, many are affected.

“They’re just so near and dear to our hearts,” Dr. Lillie Brown, principal of Potter Street Elementary School, said on the passing of Heather and Emma Barlow. “It’s like your own family.”

Heather Barlow, 35, was a substitute teacher at Potter Street Elementary, and Emma Barlow, 10, was a former Potter Street student.

“We had Emma as a student, and she was a great student,” Brown said. “Her mother, Miss Heather, has been a sub for us all year — very, very, very dependable — and we will truly miss them.”

Emma Barlow was about 10 weeks into her fifth-grade year at Hutto Middle School.

“She was an excellent student and an excellent child,” said Hutto Middle School principal Roy Matthews. “She was in a class of great kids, and all of the teachers loved her.”

The mother and daughter were involved in a vehicle accident on Highway 84 in Climax around 7:30 Wednesday morning. Also in the vehicle was five-year-old Chloe Barlow, who was in the backseat in a child’s seat.

“We are so glad that we still have Chloe, and we will do the best we can to provide and make sure that she is as comfortable as possible,” Brown said.

Heather Barlow was pulling out of Bert Phillips Road in Climax when a tractor-trailer struck her car on the passenger’s side. Heather and Emma Barlow, who occupied the passenger seat, passed away at the scene of the accident, according to Georgia State Patrol Assistant Post Commander Corporal Jones.

Chloe Barlow sustained injuries and was flown to Tallahassee Memorial Hospital.

The driver of the tractor-trailer was not injured in the accident.