A fundraiser has been established for a Walthall County sheriff’s dispatcher who lost part of one leg after a head-on crash on Highway 98 in October.

Heather Jones was severely injured in the head-on crash on Oct. 7 and had surgery Friday to have her right leg removed at mid-calf.

The crash happened around 11  p.m. when Jones was returning home from the Enterprise-Journal, where she also works.

She suffered a broken leg, broken hand and lacerated liver.

The other driver, Robert L. Turnage, 55, of Springfield, La., died in the accident.

Jones’ mother, Debra Johnson, said Friday that the idea of the amputation was a difficult one for Jones to deal with.

“But I said, ‘You have a lot of love and support, and we’re going to be here for you,’ ” Johnson said.

Once Jones is out of recovery, she will rest for a day or two then begin her physical therapy.

Johnson said her daughter should be able to leave the hospital by Thanksgiving but will temporarily stay with in-laws whose house will be easier for her to get around.

Johnson has reached out to the community for help with the financial challenges. The biggest immediate need is a vehicle which can hold Jones’ wheelchair and which can be used to get her to physical therapy sessions.

“And then the medical bills are coming in, and, oh my God, they’re horrible,” Johnson said, adding that just the helicopter airlift to Our Lady of the Lake Medical Center in Baton Rouge last month was $42,000.

“It’s definitely going to be a challenge, but we’re going to get her home. We’re going to get her well,” Johnson said.

The family is planning a variety of fundraisers once Jones is back home, including a poker run and possibly a cookout.

Donations toward Jones’ medical bills can be made at Pike National Bank, which is running a GoFundMe account for that purpose.

Those who want to help can also call Debra Johnson at (601) 810-9724.

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