A Laurel, Mississippi teacher is in stable condition after being hit by a drunk driver coming home from her baby shower. Her unborn child did not survive the accident.
Mashayla Harper, 24, was eight months pregnant when James Cory Gilbert, 33, hit the fourth-grade math teacher at Jones Elementary School head-on. According to The Laurel Leader Call, Gilbert left the scene in his 2005 Nissan Titan after crashing into Harper’s Honda Accord. Authorities told the paper that Harper was lying in the roadway “fighting for her life.” She was transported to the hospital in critical condition.
The expecting mom was celebrating her impending arrival with family and friends hours before the fatal crash. According to the Sun Herald, who spoke to Harper’s father Maurice Pruitt Sr., she was to give birth to a baby girl, who she planned to name Londyn Alise Jones.
On Facebook Pruitt wrote, “To see our baby go from this being the happiest day of her life to I.C.U. in a matter of minutes was a complete tragedy. That idiot hit her head on and left her out there on that road to die,” Pruitt said of Gilbert, who admitted to drinking before the incident. “We are grateful for the individual that happened to be in the area hunting to come to her aid, otherwise we may not be sitting in I.C.U. praying as she fight[s] for her life.”
He continued, “Thanks to everyone that’s praying and has called to check on the status of Mashayla Harper… She’s a very strong woman and she continue[s] to fight for her life.”
In a later post, Pruitt reported that Harper had undergone surgery and had “a long way to go to recover” but that she was on the mend, though very sad about what transpired.
According to reports, Gilbert was charged with leaving the scene of an accident with injuries. His bond was set at $100,000. In an interview with the Leader Call, the father of two said he fled the scene because he “was scared.” Gilbert has three previous DUIs that date back to 2008.
A GoFundMe has been set up to help with Harper’s medical bills and other expenses.