JEFFERSON, GA — Tripp Halstead, the Jefferson boy whose family garnered support from across the Atlanta area five years ago when he suffered a serious brain injury from a falling tree branch that struck him, died Thursday. He was 2 at the time of the accident, when his family lived in Winder, and was 7 at the time of his death. The accident left Tripp in a coma for weeks, in a hospital for months, and in need of special care in the years since.
The boy’s father, Bill Halstead, confirmed his son’s death Thursday night to Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The Halstead family was changed forever in October 2012 when high winds from Hurricane Sandy caused a limb to break and fall directly onto two-year-old Tripp, who was playing at his daycare. Emergency surgery showed the impact of the tree limb shattered Tripp’s skull into multiple pieces. Miraculously, Tripp survived the initial surgery. Social media chronicling his fight has garnered a following of about 1.3 million people.
Out of a need to accommodate Tripp’s wheelchair and special needs, the Halsteads sold their home in Winder and purchased a foreclosed one closer to family members in Jefferson who could provide additional support for the family.
Tripp’s mother, Stacey Halstead, has kept friends, family, supporters and others updated on their son’s journey through the Tripp Halstead Updates Facebook page. She has chronicled his medical ups and downs, and routine events like going to school or out with his family..
“Thank you for all of the support,” Stacey told 11Alive in a statement. “We are devastated.”
While she didn’t post about her son’s death on Facebook, she did share with readers their urgent race to the hospital Thursday.
Stacey wrote that when she to wake Tripp up for school this morning he was having labored breathing. “I could see his little chest going up and down and his heart rate was high. … I went to move him and he started whining and then had crazy diarrhea so I immediately called his pediatrician and they said to bring him in.”
As she raced to the pediatrician’s office, Stacey said she could tell Tripp was getting worse and she wasn’t sure there was enough oxygen in the tank to make it to Atlanta in heavy traffic, so she headed to the emergency room in Athens. Lung problems sent the little boy to Children’s Hospital of Atlanta.
“Anyway, not sure what’s going to happen but I just feel 10000% better knowing he’s in good hands at the hospital,” she said in the afternoon. “Thank you for your prayers and support. Love you all.”