Latta community supports family of 4-year-old hurt by falling tree

Neighbors say they heard a "crack" and then a "crash" before their street was filled with emergency vehicles Wednesday evening.

LATTA, SC (WBTW) – After Wednesday night’s damaging storms brought a tree down on a home in Latta and hurt a 4-year-old little boy, the small town came together Thursday to support the family.

Parents of the injured boy work in schools in Latta. Aaron Miles is an assistant principal and athletic director while Stephani is an elementary teacher. One of their fellow teachers created a Go Fund Me account that has already raised nearly $6,000.

The Miles family was inside their home on Bethea Street Wednesday evening around 5 p.m. when the tree came crashing through the roof, according to TJ Cook with the Latta Fire Department.

First responders were at the Miles’ home Thursday, cutting the tree that fell through their house and car.

“When something big like this happens, we all try to help each other out,” explains Lt. John Bethea with the Latta Fire Department.
Lt. Bethea is not only one of the firefighters helping remove the tree from the Miles’ home, he is also a former student of Aaron Miles.

“It feels good to [help] because we could call him and he’d always help us out,” recalls Bethea. “He helped the community with athletic games. He is known around this town.”

While fire crews worked to clear the giant tree from the Miles’ home, fellow teacher Megan Bley started raising money to help the family.

Photo from GoFundMe page

“It was just laid on my heart,” said Bley, Latta Elementary teacher and friend to Stephani Miles. “That this assistance would probably be needed even though they probably weren’t thinking about it right now. Down the road, I felt like, this was something that we could do for them, to help them out.”

She says the community support is a blessing and speaks to the kind character of the Miles family.

“It’s just been amazing how our community has come together to support the Miles family. You can tell they are deeply loved; Everyone cares about them and wants to take care of them.”

Bley says while the road to recovery will be long, the goal is to make sure Stephani and Aaron have as few worries as possible.
“We want them to not worry about the materialistic things, to pray for their son, that he gets better very soon,” says Bley.

The little boy suffered a fractured skull and is being treated at a Florence hospital, according to neighbors close to the family. Students at Latta Elementary made cards Thursday for the family. The Go Fund Me page can be utilized by anyone wanting to support the family.