Mother shot, tells how she was saved by cellphone

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Jeniece Smiley was shot at least three times while doing what all of us do: driving down the street. (WLS)

ABC7 Eyewitness News Exclusive
A woman was saved by her cellphone when bullets burst through her car as she drove on Chicago's south side late Monday night. Tonight, the young mother remains hospitalized.

Jeniece Smiley, 24, was shot at least three times while doing what all of us do: driving down the street. Eyewitness news reporter Ben Bradley spoke with her by phone from her hospital room.

"I do remember hearing a deep boom and that's when the glass shattered," Smiley said.

Smiley was a stoplight when gunfire tore through her car at 71st and Wentworth. One of the bullet holes is visible right in the door of her car. Another shot hit her cell phone, which she was holding near her cheek.

"I don't even know how my phone got up there but it blocked it," she said.

The bullet could have gone directly to her head.

"It did actually get in but it didn't get as deep," Smiley said. "There's just a few fragments in there."

Smiley said she thinks the cell phone may have saved her life.

Police said someone got out of another car near 71st and Wentworth Monday night, ran up to Smiley's car and began shooting.

She was hit in the head, shoulder and hand. Her car rolled to a stop in a grassy lot.

Smiley is a mother of two young kids, with no criminal record. She said she thinks the shooter must have mistaken her car for someone else's.

"It's not safe and they need to stop because they almost took me from my two children," she said.

Smiley had surgery on her hand Wednesday and she will undergo plastic surgery Friday. She said she's heard the stories of violence for years, and never imagined she would one day become a victim.
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