Mississippi woman loses unborn baby after hit-and-run driver leaves her for dead

Published 11:34 am Thursday, January 9, 2020

A Mississippi teacher was seriously injured and her unborn baby was killed last weekend after an accident with a hit-and-run driver with a history of drinking and driving.

Mashayla Harper, 24, was found lying in Welch Road in the Soso community of Jones County, Mississippi, Saturday when a hunter found her. Police say Harper, who had just left a baby shower in her honor, was struck by James Cory Gilbert. The first-time mom was 8 months pregnant at the time of the accident.

Gilbert reportedly left the scene after the collision. He was arrested later and charged with leaving the scene of an accident. Additional charges may be added after toxicology tests are completed, area media reported. He was last known be detained in the Jones County jail on a $100,000 bond.

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Local media reported that police said Gilbert admitted to drinking prior to the crash and that he had multiple DUI convictions on his criminal record.

Harper lost her baby and was initially fighting for her own life in a Hattiesburg hospital. Family and friends report she’s now stabilized and is off artificial life support means.

Harper teaches fourth-grade at South Jones Elementary School.

Harper’s father Maurice Pruitt Sr. has provided public updates on her condition via social media.

“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,” he wrote. “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 for her life.”

“Thanks to everyone that’s praying and has called to check on the status of Mashayla Harper,” Pruitt wrote.

Harper’s family and friend have setup a GoFundMe account to help with medical bills: