LAUREL, Miss. (WHLT) – A Jones County teenager is recovering after sustaining a severe brain injury from a car crash. Izaaiah Gray is currently on a ventilator at Children’s of Mississippi.

After more than two weeks on a ventilator, Gray is showing signs of improvement.

“They turn his vent off for, like right now, we’re doing 24 hours to see if he’s going to be capable of breathing on his own, which he did really well yesterday. He went the whole 24 hours. We’re just kind of we’re just really trying to, you know, wait for him to wake up,” said Cassandra Tipton, Gray’s mother.

The 14-year-old sustained a severe brain injury in a crash on October 6, 2023.

Officials with the Jones County Fire Council said Gray was a passenger in a car that went off the roadway and slammed into a tree on Antioch Drive in Laurel. Gray was trapped in the car when it caught fire.

His mother said neighbors jumped into action.

“Thanks to the quick actions of, especially the neighbors, because they put the fire out. They helped the driver get out. While someone was helping him get out, there was somebody else on the phone with 911,” said Tipton.

It took nearly an hour for firefighters to cut Gray free from the vehicle.

“He was nonresponsive, unable to tell us where he was hurting. We had difficulty seeing where exactly he was trapped, so we made the decision to remove the roof and at the same time remove the door,” said Glade Fire Chief Dan McKenna.

Gray’s family said they’re hopeful he will recover.

“If you pinch his hand, you know, he reacts. You talk to him, and his eyeballs, you know, they’ll move back and forth, and I’ll go every hour or so, and I’ll open his eyelids. It takes him a few seconds, but he’ll kind of focus on me,” said Tipton.

If Gray continues to breathe on his own without medication, he will be removed from the ventilator.

A GoFundMe has been set up to help pay for his medical expenses.