Family knows and forgives driver in head-on crash that killed beloved teacher

Posted at 11:27 PM, Oct 24, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-24 23:28:10-04

SIX LAKES, Mich. -- Shelly Gilman was a beloved member of the Six Lakes community.  A teacher at Tri County Schools, and she served as a mother to many, says her husband Bob Gilman.

Shelly died on Saturday when a driver crossed the center line on M-91 and hit her car.

Her 19-month-old granddaughter was in the vehicle but made it out without a scratch.

Despite this time of incredible sadness and loss, this family is finding strength the best way they know how.

“We lean on each other, certainly, in bad times, and we’ve had our share,”  said Rick Outman, Shelly's brother. "We’ve always gotten through it. We circle the wagons a little tighter every time and become closer as a family."

“She’ll be greatly missed. But the biggest thing that we have going for our family is that we have faith. With faith comes forgiveness,” said Shelly's husband, Bob Gilman.

And that same faith is what allows Shelly's family to forgive the man who hit her.

Being from a small community, they know the driver, who they say fell asleep behind the wheel.  He's heartbroken over the accident, sharing this on Facebook:

Bob says he forgives the driver. He knows the only way to get through this difficult time is together.

“Eric reached out to me, and I drove straight to his house from there," Bob Gilman said. "We sat down on the couch, and I told him on the behalf of the family, we forgive him. We have to start healing,”

A visitation for Shelly will take place at New Life United Methodist Church at 3 p.m. on Friday. Her funeral will follow on Saturday morning at Tri County High School at 10 a.m.