By Tia Lynn Ivey
As Shelby Smith, a freshman at Morgan County High School (MCHS), remains in critical but stable condition after being struck by an oncoming vehicle while crossing the 441 bypass on April 30, the local community is rallying around the family with support and prayers.
“We are praying for Shelby and hoping she gets better soon,” said James Woodard, superintendent of Morgan County Schools. “She is one of the school family members and we have to take care of our family.”
The local United Bank has set up a fundraiser account in partnership with the MCHS JROTC for the Smith family called the “Benefit Fund for Shelby Smith,” hoping to garner donations to help Shelby and the Smith family during this time of crisis.
“They are customers of ours, so we wanted to do something to help Shelby,” said Kim Douglas, a customer service representative at United Bank.
“JROTC Cadets learn that leadership is a form of service and service is a form of leadership. We must serve others to be better leaders,” said Major Robert Atkins, who leads the MCHS JROTC program. “We owe it to Shelby Smith and her family to help where and how we can. We’d do this for any Cadet. Shelby is a bright, strong young lady. She has done well in AFJROTC her first year. We anxiously await her return to MCHS and JROTC. We are praying for her healing as she recovers and for her family as they stand by her.”
To make a donation, you can visit United Bank, located at 256 North Main Street in Madison or call the branch at 706-342-7211.
Shelby was volunteering at Sugar Creek Baptist Church’s annual BBQ fundraiser when the accident occurred. 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 2008 Chysler Town and Country van, driven by Jeremy Shumate, 31, of Rutledge. Shelby was crossing over the Old Buckhead Road intersection while the traffic light was green, according to police 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 over 50 feet from where she was first 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