Emergency officials work the scene where a man driving a reported stolen vehicle crashed into another vehicle driven by Marina Village Middle School counselor Myrna Harp. Village Life photo by Shelly Thorene

News

Counselor Harp injured in major wreck

By From page A1 | September 13, 2017

Marina Village Middle School counselor Myrna Harp was airlifted to Sutter Roseville Medical Center following a Sept. 5 vehicle crash involving a man reportedly trying to evade police.

“She is in serious but stable condition,” Marina Village Principal George Tapanes wrote in an email to parents. “The family has requested Marina families not visit or send gifts/flowers per ICU rules. They will notify us when she is through the worst of her injuries.”

The news shook students and parents who spoke to Village Life last week after receiving the news.

“It was sad to hear about Mrs. Harp and that someone was breaking the law when this happened,” said eighth-grader Matthew Montalvo. “I hope she recovers soon.”

Harp is known around campus for supporting inclusiveness and helping children who are having trouble adjusting or need someone to talk to.

The California Association of School Counselors named Harp 2015 California Outstanding Counselor of the Year. She was one of 42 state counselor delegates honored at a February 2016 event hosted by then First Lady Michelle Obama.

Marina Village sixth-grader Gabrielle Gebo described how Harp set the tone when she first arrived at her new school.

“She helped me at the WEB day (Where Everyone Belongs orientation) and was super nice. I always see her around,” Gabrielle said.

WEB trains eighth-graders to mentor incoming sixth-graders through their first middle school year.

“Out of all the wonderful staff at Marina, Mrs. Harp made the biggest difference in my daughter’s life,” said parent Stacee Liaty. “She was able to find the perfect solution to a problem others weren’t willing to address. Her kindness and understanding changed the course for our entire family. I will forever be grateful. My prayers are with her during this difficult time.”

Parent Debbie Shedd told Village Life, “She really took care of the students and staff after Mrs. Mattey passed away. She made sure everyone was taken care of and showed so much leadership during a hard time. We wish her all the best with her recovery.”

As of press time, Harp was stable and scheduled to go into surgery Monday, her daughter posted in the GoFundMe webpage, gofundme.com/myrnaharp, which had collected more than $17,000 for “Myrna Harp the Gladiator.”

“Some of the money will go toward getting dad a car since their reliable vehicle is now totaled,” wrote Zabrina Marie Prouty. “He plans on getting a small commuter since she will be here a long time and he will be making lots of trips down here from Diamond Springs.

The incident began Tuesday at 12:28 p.m. when Placerville police officers were dispatched to a reported kidnapping and vehicle theft at 455 Placerville Drive.

An adult female victim told officers that her mother’s vehicle, a 2002 Volkswagen Beetle, had been stolen and she had been kidnapped by Justin Jefford, a 21-year-old male from Placerville about a half hour earlier, according to information provided by PPD.

The suspect, who is the ex-boyfriend of the victim, entered the driver’s seat of the vehicle while the victim was in the passenger seat. He drove her to the Shingle Springs area against her will and allegedly refused to let her out.

Once Jefford stopped and got out of the vehicle, the victim fled and ran to safety. She called law enforcement and El Dorado County sheriff’s deputies located her.

Around 4:08 p.m., a Placerville police officer observed a vehicle matching the description of the stolen Volkswagen Beetle on Placerville Drive and Pierroz Road. When the officer was behind the vehicle the driver, later confirmed as Jefford, reportedly failed to yield to the officer’s overhead lights and siren. Jefford continued to drive on Placerville Drive and then turned on Green Valley Road, where he headed westbound. The officer continued to pursue the vehicle and lost sight around a corner just west of Greenstone Road. The pursuit ended when Jefford reportedly crossed into the opposing lane and crashed into Harp’s oncoming vehicle.

Jefford also suffered major injuries and was transported to a Sacramento area hospital. Once released he faces charges of  kidnapping, stealing a vehicle, evading a police officer and violation of his parole.

As of press time Monday he was not listed as a Placerville jail inmate. His condition is unknown.

Dawn Hodson

Discussion | 1 comment

  • SarahSeptember 06, 2017 - 1:44 pm

    Mrs.Harp we are praying for you

    Reply

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