That would have been Mashayla Harper’s first child – a baby girl. With even her nursery all set up, the expectant 36-week-old Harper, whose due date was February 11, already had a name for her – Londyn Alise Jones.
According to the Sun Herald, the 24-year-old elementary school teacher suffered a miscarriage after a drunk driver struck in to her Honda Accord head-on in Soso, Mississippi. The tragic incident occurred some 15 minutes after she had left her baby shower on January 4.
The driver, 33-year-old James Cory Gilbert, fled the scene on foot. Harper, who suffered severe injuries after the incident, including head trauma, a broken leg and damage to her abdomen was found by a hunter who called emergency services. She was hospitalized and put on life support. Her condition has since stabilized.
“They are through with all her surgeries,” Harper’s father, Maurice Pruitt Sr., told the Sun Herald.
“Everything is fine. She is awake. She knows that her baby died. She is really sad. She doesn’t want anyone to leave her right now. They are allowing her mother to stay with her.”
In a separate account to WDAM, Pruitt emotionally described the moment they were told the baby did not make it.
“The doctor came in and explained Mashayla had severe trauma to her and the baby didn’t make it through the accident,” he said.
According to Pruitt, his daughter, despite being in a critical condition, was concerned about the welfare of her child and kept asking where she was.
“She was just pointing at her stomach and she kept pointing at her stomach,” he said. “She couldn’t talk because she had tubes in her. She was aware, but when she woke up she wanted to know where her baby was.”
The child, unfortunately, passed away before Harper was transported to the hospital, WDAM further reports.
The assailant turned himself in later that day after his wife advised him to do so. He has been charged with leaving the scene of an accident that caused death or injuries. His bond is set at $100,000 and he is being held at the Jones County Adult Detention Center. The bond could, however, rise depending on the results of a blood test that was administered on him, according to the Laurel-Leader Call.
A remorseful Gilbert apologized when he was asked by reporters why he made the run.
“I was scared,” he said. “I’m very sorry. I’m so sorry.”
“To see our baby go from this being the happiest day if 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. 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 [sic] for her life,” Pruitt shared on Facebook after the incident.
“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 [sic] to fight for her life.”
A GoFundMe has been set up to help cover her health and living expenses.