Elkins Community Rallies Behind Teen Badly Injured In Crash

ELKINS (KFSM) — A 14-year-old Elkins eighth grader who was nearly killed in a car crash Thursday (Jan. 18) has slowly been recovering.

Jake Smith, a quarterback on the football team, has been treated at Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock since the day after the crash.

Doctors removed Smith’s breathing tube Wednesday (Jan. 24), which is also the same day he started talking again.

Elkins bus driver Kelly Laird has been keeping the community updated on Smith’s progress through a Facebook group. People are able to join the group and even post comments.

“I saw that mom was trying to communicate with people online to let everybody know what was going on, but it was becoming very overwhelming for her,” said Laird.

Football Coach T.J. Hoover hopes his quarterback will be able to join his teammates on what will be a new football field next fall.

“There’s no doubt that he wants to be out there somewhere,” Hoover said. “That’s what he’s going to be working for is to get back out there and be with his team.”

The family is preparing for a long road to recovery, Laird said. She added that they were overwhelmed and blessed by the support and prayers.

“Thank you to everybody,” Laird said. “The outpouring of love and support and prayers for the family, it’s been amazing.”

Elkins police said the wreck may have stemmed from a mechanical issue with the vehicle’s steering.

A GoFundMe page has also been created by Laird to help the family with medical bills and traveling expenses to and from Little Rock.

Donations, including giftcards, can be dropped off at the Center Street Cafe in Elkins, along with Aspire Nutrition in Fayetteville.