By Tia Lynn Ivey
A local teen girl is in critical condition after being hit by a car on the corner of the Madison Bypass and Old Buckhead Road last Saturday, April 30, shortly after noon. Shelby Smith, a 15-year-old freshman at Morgan County High School (MCHS), was volunteering at Sugar Creek Baptist Church’s annual BBQ fundraiser. She and a group of teens were out on the bypass collecting signs advertising the event. Shelby crossed the highway to get one of the signs when she was struck by an oncoming vehicle. According to police reports, at the time of the accident, the driver, Jeremy Shumate, a 31-year-old Rutledge resident, was driving a 2008 Chrysler Town and Country van while crossing over the Old Buckhead Road intersection while the traffic light was green. Reports state that Shumate attempted to swerve out of the way, but hit Shelby on the right front side of his van. According to the report, the impact of the accident launched Shelby into the air, throwing her 50 feet and 5 inches away from where she was hit.
Shumate and six witnesses all told Georgia State Patrolman William Thomas that the traffic light was green, giving Shumate the right of way, and that Shumate attempted to avoid striking Shelby as she crossed. Shumate told police he did not see her in the road until he was already crossing the intersection.
Shelby was transported to the ICU ward of the Atlanta Medical Center with severe injuries. According to MCHS Principal Jim Malanowski, the latest update from the family is that Shelby is in critical, but stable, condition.
“Anytime someone is injured to this degree it’s traumatic for the people who know them, but when it’s someone who is loved like Shelby, it magnifies the feelings,” said Malanowski. “This is one of those times. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family. We wish her a speedy and complete recovery and a quick return to school.”
Shelby is the daughter of Lance Smith, who is a member of Sugar Creek Baptist Church. Fellow church member Mae Buice said
“She is one of our favorites, just a sweetheart,” said Buice. “We were all devastated, she is just the love of everybody.”