Sharista Giles, a critically injured accident victim who gave birth while in a coma, died this week, her family reported on Facebook. “Sharista Giles gained her wings this morning,” the post said. “She has suffered for 3 1/2 years ... (and now) she can walk, talk, sing, dance, and put that Beautiful Smile back on again.” Giles’ story grabbed national headlines in 2014. She was returning to her home in Sweetwater, Tenn., from a concert in Nashville when the driver of the car hit a guardrail, reports People. Her friends were uninjured but Giles suffered traumatic brain injury and lapsed into a coma. She was four months pregnant at the time, and her son Leighton was delivered prematurely, weighing just 2 pounds, reports Fox.
Giles opened her eyes in April 2015 and could respond to hand-squeezes but she never fully recovered. Leighton, who stayed in the neonatal intensive care unit at the University of Tennessee Medical Center before returning home to be raised by his grandparents, is now a healthy 3-year-old. The cause of her death is unclear, but early this year Giles was hospitalized with double pneumonia. The family is struggling with the loss and how to explain it to Leighton. "With him being so young, it’s hard to know what to tell him when he asks where Momma is," first cousin Felecia Vincil tells knox news. "His grandparents and his father are doing a wonderful job with him, and the entire family will make sure he knows her how she was." (Read more coma stories.)