Benefit ride organized for Shelby Smith

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By Tia Lynn Ivey

managing editor

A benefit motorcycle ride, The Angel Ride, has been organized for Shelby Smith, the Morgan County High School (MCHS) student that was struck by an oncoming van while crossing the 441 Bypass last April.

Smith spent a few weeks in critical condition in an induced coma before predicted to make a full recovery. The ride is set for October 22 in Hoschton, Ga.

“We were absolutely floored when we were told our family was chosen,” said Nikki Smith, Shelby’s stepmother. “We are so overwhelmed with the outpouring of support from so many. Shelby’s road to recovery is very positive she has been released from occupational therapy and physical therapy. She has two speech therapy sessions weekly, working on short-term memory goals. There are still gaps that we are working very hard to help her regain.”

The 2016 Angel Ride for Shelby Smith will be held on Saturday, October 22 at the Hoschton Depot, located at 18 Railroad Avenue in Hoschton, Ga. Registration begins at 9 a.m. and the ride begins at 10:30 a.m. It’s $15 per rider an $10 per passenger. The event will also feature live music, games, a silent auction, t-shirts, and food.

According to the The Angel Ride, “Sometimes there are stormy moments in our life when your friends do more than just walk with you, they become angels that carry you and protect you with their wings.”

The Angel Ride aims to change lives and “pay it forward” by using the resources they collect for the benefit of the sick and injured.

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  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.”

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 a 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 spent a grand total of 79 days in the hospital.

For more information about the Angel Ride, call (770) 843-6290 or (770) 868-6316.

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