Uber driver who survived being shot in head says she is ‘protected and blessed’

Linda Buford drove more than two miles for help after she was shot in the back of the head. (SOURCE: WLOX)
Published: Jan. 26, 2023 at 1:04 PM CST
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BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX/Gray News) - An Uber driver shot in the head while on the job in Mississippi Friday night is recovering, but said she’ll never drive for a rideshare service again.

Linda Buford had a second surgery Tuesday and posted to Facebook about her ordeal. She said she was blessed by where the bullet went in at the back of her head and where it came out through her cheek.

“Nose, tongue, eyes, and most of my mouth are already healing,” she wrote in the Facebook post. “I have fractures along my entire face across the cheekbones down, but they are healing! Just a waiting game now. And all future surgeries, I believe, are all cosmetic! They can’t believe that I can already talk.”

WLOX reports Buford was shot after giving an Uber ride to Trinyell Coats Jr., who said he rented the ride under his older brother’s name.

Investigators said Coats pulled out a gun and shot Buford in the head near the intersection of Tennessee Street and Chicago Avenue in Gulfport.

Right after the shooting, Buford drove more than two miles despite her injury to get help. She ended up at the front door of a Rouses grocery story.

“I’m still in shock that something like this can happen here,” Buford wrote Tuesday. “I’d say it’s a reminder to keep our guard up, but dang, I think it’s past that. We need to be sure that our police and first responders/fire and such are given every tool they need and ALL of our support, and continue the fight to be soooo tough on crime. I can’t believe how bad it’s gotten. I was meant to be killed - shot point blank in the back of the head. I was soooo protected and blessed!”

Police arrested her alleged assailant and charged him with aggravated assault. Coats is now being held at the Harrison County Adult Detention Center on a $250,000 bond.

Before she was shot, Buford was well-known on the coast in fitness circles for operating Cycology Fitness & Nutrition, a group fitness business in Ocean Springs.

Buford also worked side jobs before doing delivery work and driving for Uber and Lyft. She said those days are over for her.

“I won’t go back to being an Uber or Lyft driver. Just too dangerous the way the market/territory is laid out. I’m just too scared! Please keep me in mind if y’all see any work that I might could do,” she wrote. “There are not thanks enough to thank you for the prayers, especially for holding my sweet mommy up. We’d be lost without each other! I’m truly overwhelmed and thankful for all the love and blessings!”

A GoFundMe account has been set up to help Buford with her medical bills and the long recovery ahead of her.