A local woman who has spent the last two months fighting for her life following an accident which left her in critical condition is returning home to Starkville today.
Jan Morgan, 57, was hit by a car while riding her bicycle on Highway 50 in May. According to the Mississippi Highway Patrol’s accident report, Morgan was traveling west on Highway 50 at approximately 10:30 a.m. on May 22 when she was struck from behind by a westbound car driven by Robbie Norton, 44, of Cedar Bluff. The impact threw Morgan into the air and she landed on the hood of Norton’s car.
When the car came to a stop, she was “thrown to the asphalt,” according to the accident report. The report goes on to say witnesses saw Norton emerge from her car while on her cell phone and observe Morgan before getting back into her car and running Morgan over again.
Morgan suffered a severe head injury and a number of fractures throughout her body. She spent a month heavily sedated in critical care at a hospital in Tupelo following the accident.
Morgan was moved to the Shepherd Center in Atlanta four weeks ago to begin her rehabilitation process. The center, which specializes in spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries, provided the therapy and support Morgan needed to heal. On her Facebook page, both she and her husband David said the recovery process has not been an easy one.
But after a long journey, she will be discharged from the Shepherd Center and come home to Mississippi today.
Morgan will receive outpatient therapy from the Mississippi Methodist Rehabilitation Center in Jackson during the week and return to Starkville during the weekends.
“We are glad to be coming back to Mississippi and starting the next phase of this ordeal with expectations of Jan’s continued improvement,” David Morgan said.
The Morgan family hopes Jan will be able to return soon to Boardtown Bikes, the bicycle shop they own and operate.
Norton will not face any felony charges for the accident. The Mississippi Highway Patrol and District Attorney Forrest Allgood investigated the case thoroughly, but could find no felony violations of the law.
One year after the John Paul Frerer Bicycle Safety Act went into effect, Mississippi House of Representatives member Margaret Rogers is fighting to add an amendment that would strengthen its enforcement. The law, named in honor of a young cyclist that was killed after being hit by a car, requires motorists to give 3 feet of space when passing a cyclist. The amendment would call for an upgrade to a felony charge in the case of a maiming or death caused by the breach of the law.
Morgan’s accident has opened up a debate regarding bicycle safety at both the state and local level. The Starkville community rallied around the cause during a ride for bicycle safety awareness last month. Morgan’s friends, family and, in some cases, complete strangers have left words of encouragement and support on her Facebook page.
“I want to thank all of you who have sent cards, flowers, baskets, prayers and good wishes,” Jan Morgan wrote in a recent post. “I have been told that many of you came by to visit me in the hospital... some of you I didn’t even know...Thank you.”