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Former East High football star's career cut short after losing leg in crash

Former East High football star's career cut short after losing leg in crash
Published: Jul. 19, 2018 at 9:32 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 19, 2018 at 10:37 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Former East High football star Jabari Bailey was supposed to be reporting to football camp in Alabama on Thursday.

Instead, he is just on the beginning of his path of recovery after losing his leg in a car accident last week.

Bailey, who graduated East High School in 2016, was a linebacker for the Mustangs and went off to pursue his dream of playing football at Tuskegee University.

"It was his dream to play college ball, and he had finally made it to the point where he would be on the travel squad and had a starting position," Jay Bailey, Jabari's father, said.

Everything changed on July 11 when he stopped on the side of Frasyer-Raleigh Road.

"And he is standing in between the cars with his head under the hood hooking the cables up," Jay said.

Court documents show it was at that moment that 47-year-old Frank Smith hit one of the cars.

The impact of the crash pinned Jabari between the two cars, instantly severing one his leg, according to his father.

A surgeon told the family, a Good Samaritan used a belt as a tourniquet and that is what saved his life.

But his dreams of being a pro ball player were gone.

"My initial reaction was to be grateful for the life of my child and that I still got him here. And I know we go a long road to go, but as a dad, I am going to make sure that this guy never hurts anybody else on the road ever again."

Smith told investigators by the time he realized the car was stalled, he couldn't avoid hitting it.

He's charged with failing to yield causing serious injury.

"He never hit brakes. There are no skid marks," Jay said.

Smith's criminal history dates back to 1989, and it shows a pattern of driving offenses and felony arrests.

At one point, he was deemed a habitual motor vehicle offender.

"What I don't understand is how did he get another license? And how did he get behind the wheel of the car?" Jay asked.

Jabari's father is working with the District Attorney's office to push for Smith's charge to be upgraded.

He also plans to fight to change Tennessee law to prevent habitual motor vehicle offenders from being on the road.

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