*We have some really tragic news to inform you of. A young Mississippi woman who was eight months pregnant has lost her baby because of a careless driver who has an extensive history of DUIs.
Mashayla Harper,24, was at a baby shower with friends and family on Saturday in Soso, Mississippi, but she and her family’s joy was stopped cold when her car was struck head-on as she was driving home.
The driver of the other car, James Cory Gilbert, 33, plowed into Harper’s car at around 6pm. According to reports, at that point, Gilbert, fled the scene on foot, leaving Harper fighting for her life while slumped behind the wheel of her badly wrecked car.
Harper, a fourth-grade math teacher at South Jones Elementary School, was rushed to the South Central Regional Hospital in Laurel. Mississippi in a critical condition after a man hunting nearby spotted her car in the middle of the road and dialed 911.
Here’s more via Daily Mail:
Gilbert was located by authorities hours later and arrested. Police say he admitted he’d been drinking prior to the crash and a small amount of marijuana was also found inside his abandoned pickup truck.
His arrest was secured after newly-elected Sheriff Joe Berlin called Gilbert’s wife and told her to contact him and get him to ‘do the right thing’, the Leader Call reported.
When asked by a reporter why he ran away Gilbert replied, “I was scared. I’m very sorry: so sorry,” as he was being hauled away in cuffs.
According to court records, Gilbert has at least three DUI convictions dating back to 2008, including a felony DUI and possession of methamphetamine in 2015.
He has now been charged with leaving the scene of an accident that caused death or injuries and he is being held in the Jones County Adult Detention Center on $100,000 bond.
Gilbert’s attorney had tried to argue that his client’s bail should be set at $50,000 during his initial court appearance Monday, citing a similar incident in Bridgewater last year.
However, Judge Billie Graham denied the motion, saying: “This one is more egregious because the suspect knew he struck someone and caused life-threatening injuries…[Gilbert truly fled].”
Meanwhile, Mashayla Harper has since been transferred to another hospital where she underwent emergency surgery. Doctors have officially upgraded her condition from critical to stable.
In an emotional message on Facebook, Harper’s father Maurice Pruitt Sr. expressed his heartbreak at the tragic outcome of the day that had just hours earlier been one of ‘the happiest days’ of her life.
‘To see our baby go from this being the happiest day of 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,’ Pruitt began.
‘Thanks to everyone that’s praying and has called to check on the status of Mashayla… She’s a very strong woman and she continues to fight for her life.’