‘A horrible assault, reckless’: KC preschool teacher critically injured in hit-and-run

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – She was supposed to be in the classroom on Tuesday. Instead, a Kansas City preschool teacher remained in intensive care following a crash.

Shaunquinita Williams knew the moment she interviewed Maenisha Jones last year that the 24-year-old was going to be a special addition to Operation Breakthrough.

“I couldn’t imagine her not being back here,” Williams said. “She gives her whole self. When she comes in, she’s this great big ball of energy.”

Jones is a pre-school teacher at Operation Breakthrough, dedicating her life to teaching inner-city youth.

“If a child is having a rough day and their behaviors are showing in the classroom, she’s that person that can get that child, talk them through whatever their emotions are, and get them to calm down and get them back on track,” Williams explained.

Last Monday, while driving to work, 20-year-old Austin Jackson hit Jones’ SUV near 38th and Pittman, according to court documents. Jackson was driving a truck that was reported stolen out of Liberty, Missouri. He and a passenger in the truck ran from the scene, leaving Jones unconscious in her vehicle.

“This was not a simple accident,” said Leyah Greer, Jones’ aunt. “This was a horrible assault, reckless.”

Greer said her niece has life-changing injuries and a long recovery ahead. Jones’ vertebrae is fractured in three places and she suffered a serious brain injury.

“It’s been really devasting and scary,” Greer said.

And heartbreaking because Greer said Jones has been nothing but a bright light in their family.

“Maenisha is literally close to perfect, the right next thing to perfect,” she said. “She’s so responsible, has worked diligently since high school just to be productive in her life and impactful to whomever she touches.”

As Jackson faces charges, including second-degree assault, Jones’ family and co-workers are praying their “Miracle Mae” will pull through.

“Maenisha is a fighter,” her aunt said.

“When she walks back through the doors at Operation Breakthrough, we’re going to count it all a blessing and a miracle,” Williams added.

Jones is so passionate about teaching that she was scheduled to start a master’s program in education this December. Sadly, that will now have to wait.

A GoFundMe campaign has been set up to help Jones with financial obligations she may face while she remains in the hospital.

Jackson told police he ran from the crash because he had prior warrants, according a probable cause statement.

Online court records show Jackson has a history of tampering with vehicles. He was also charged in August with burglary and assault for an incident occurred in Cass County.

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