Softball tourney planned to benefit injured local

Published 9:07 pm Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Mark Shipps, Jr.

Mark Shipps, Jr.

A group from Northview High School is planning a softball game to raise funds to benefit a Molino man critically injured in a single-vehicle wreck early Sunday morning.

Mark Allen Shipps Jr.,20, remains in stable condition in Sacred Heart Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

Shipps was traveling west on Molino Road just east of Chestnut Road in the Molino community at about 3:31 a.m., March 24, when he crossed the eastbound lane of Molino Road and traveled onto the south shoulder of the roadway, according to a report released by the Florida Highway Patrol.

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According to the report, Shipps’ vehicle, a 2002 Jeep Liberty, continued to travel on the grassy shoulder where the vehicle eventually hit a cement culvert and cement embankment head on and came to a final rest.

Shipps, who was wearing his seatbelt at the time of the accident, was transported to Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola by Escambia County (Fla.) EMS in critical condition.

At the time of the wreck, Shipps was returning home from a formal banquet for the Kappa Sigma Fraternity of University of West Florida, where he is a student. He is a 2010 graduate of Northview High School and is the vice president of the fraternity at UWF, where he is majoring in electrical engineering.

According to Shipps’ mother, Heather, he planned to spend the night with a friend in Pensacola. She said he apparently decided to come home because he was scheduled to work Sunday morning at Piggly Wiggly in Davisville. She said the wreck occurred a half mile from their home.

Shipps’ injuries include intestinal damage, two broken femurs, bruised lungs and a fracture above his left eye, according to his mother.

“Most of the damage was done by the seatbelt and airbag, but if he hadn’t had the seatbelt on he probably wouldn’t have survived,” she said.

According to Ms. Shipps, her son has already undergone two surgeries on his abdomen to repair the intestinal damage.

“He will have another surgery on his abdomen Thursday,” she said. “They have left his stomach open and will hopefully be able to close it up after Thursday’s surgery depending on how the surgery goes.”

Both of Shipps’ broken legs were repaired in surgery following the wreck with the placement of rods inside each femur.

“Thankfully he did not suffer any head injuries,” Ms. Shipps said. “They have done CT scans and have found no injuries. The main focus and concern is the intestinal damage caused by the seatbelt.”

Ms. Shipps said doctors are keeping her son sedated to help with the pain and to help his body heal. Thursday’s surgery will determine when he is released from ICU.

“He is expected to make a full recovery,” Ms. Shipps said. “It is just going to be a long process.”

Friends of Shipps are currently working to plan the softball tournament in Walnut Hill to help offset some of the financial burden for the family.

Anyone interested in assisting the Shipps’ family may contact Janet Little Cooper at