By Tia Lynn Ivey
Shelby Smith, the 15-year-old Morgan County High School (MCHS student) who is critical but stable condition after being struck by an oncoming van while crossing the 441 Bypass last month, is predicted to make a full recovery.
Nikki Smith, Shelby’s stepmother, announced that the doctors are pleased with Shelby’s progress and believe she will make a full recovery, albeit a slow one.
“She has been sedated now for two weeks and four days to allow her brain swelling to go down and to allow her body to heal on its own, “ said Smith. “The doctors removed a hematoma by surgery to avoid any chance of any brain damage and the surgery was successful and they were please with the results. They have started weaning her off sedation this week to her allow to wake up on her own.”
According to Smith, Shelby is already responsive to commands and when her name is called. Shelby also incurred several bone fractures on her skull, pelvic bone and femoral neck, but doctors said those injuries will heal on their own.
“Hopefully, within the next two weeks, Shelby can be weaned off the respirator as well,” said Smith.
Shelby is the daughter of Lance Smith, who attends Sugar Creek Baptist Church. The Smiths have been overwhelmed with the love, support and prayers of the entire community.
“The family got together and what we want to say to the community, we want to express our gratitude to the citizens of the this community, to our family and friends here in Morgan County, for their support for our family and for Shelby…we could never repay this debt of gratitude to the community…This town has gone above and beyond for us.”
The Smiths have held tightly to their faith in God during this tragic time.
“We know God has a plan for Shelby. What has happened to her is a testimony in her life. We don’t know how or when at this moment, but we know what she has gone through will become a testimony in her life. God will provide for her and for our family. He has already answered every prayer we have shot up to Him, coming through for us and He is showing us daily that He has a plan in all this for Shelby.”
The local United Bank has set up a fundraiser account 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. 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 and has been treated there ever since the accident.