63-year-old critically injured after fight over handicap parking spot


Investigators are considering criminal charges after an argument over a handicap parking space left a Georgia man in critical condition. 

>> Read more trending news 

Investigators said the 63-year-old grandfather and his wife had just pulled into a handicapped parking spot, when a man in a truck next to them confronted them. 

Arguing and shoving followed, then all of a sudden Danny Payne was on the ground. He wasn't breathing and had a severe head injury.

“It's hard to be here because of an altercation, not because of a health issue,” said Payne’s daughter, Sherri Fristch.

Payne has five daughters and all gathered at the hospital where he remains in critical condition. He suffered a severe brain injury and went into cardiac arrest after the Saturday night altercation, doctors said.

>> Related: Father shoots alleged burglar outside children’s window

“It was over him parking in that handicapped space,” said Payne’s daughter, Shannon Manders. “A verbal altercation started and within seconds my father was on the ground.”

The family said their parents have a handicapped parking sticker and would always hang it on the mirror after they parked.

Investigators said they interviewed the man they call a suspect, but haven't filed any charges because of conflicting witness statements. Ten to 15 people, the sheriff said, saw different parts of what happened.

“Mr. Payne thought that his wife was going to be assaulted, so he was doing the honorable thing and defending his wife, and bless him for that,” said Barrow County Sheriff Jud Smith.

Smith said his investigators are trying to determine if a shove or punch caused Payne to fall to the ground. They are asking anyone who might have cell phone video of the altercation in front of the Fatz Restaurant Saturday night to come forward.

“Whatever happened, really, I want the truth,” Fristch said.

“It’s hard to stomach that someone who was just trying to go to dinner was allegedly attacked,” said Payne's daughter, Sandy Edling.

>> Related: Truck carrying hydrochloric acid involved in train crash

The family said Payne has bleeding on his brain and is, for the most part, unresponsive. His daughters told Thomas they are praying for a miracle.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Nation & World

University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts found dead: reports
University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts found dead: reports

Authorities believe they have found the body of University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts, who vanished last month after going for a run in Brooklyn, Iowa, according to multiple reports. Greg Willey of Crime Stoppers of Central Iowa confirmed to The Associated Press that investigators found a body Tuesday morning believed to be that of Tibbetts...
30-lb shelter cat ‘Meatloaf’ adopted by veteran in Iowa to help with PTSD
30-lb shelter cat ‘Meatloaf’ adopted by veteran in Iowa to help with PTSD

A shelter cat who became internet-famous for his physique has found a new home with an Iraq veteran living with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Meatloaf, a 30-pound cat, was put up for adoption by King’s Harvest Animal Shelter in Davenport, Iowa, after his older owners weren’t able to take care of him, according to the ...
Mom warns of dangers of allowing children to nap in car seats
Mom warns of dangers of allowing children to nap in car seats

It’s been three years, but the parents of a 17-month-old little girl are still warning parents and caregivers how dangerous it can be to allow children to nap in car seats. Mia Smith died after her babysitter put her into her car seat for a nap. Mia never woke up, WFAA reported. Her official cause of death was listed as positional asphyxia. It&rsquo...
School violence: Half of all 2017-18 school shootings, threats happened in these 10 states
School violence: Half of all 2017-18 school shootings, threats happened in these 10 states

Half of all incidents of school violence and threats of violence during the 2017-2018 school year were logged in just 10 states according to a report released Monday from an organization that studies school violence. The report from the Educator’s School Safety Network found that of 3,654 reported incidents of violence and threats of violence...
Bullied student escorted to school by bikers
Bullied student escorted to school by bikers

Growing up is difficult, especially when kids have to face their bullies every day at school.  One middle school student in Streamwood, Illinois, said she was badly bullied last school year, but this year may be different for Megan Kuntz after her official escort for the first day of school Monday, WLS reported.  Her story was shared...
More Stories