A 19-year-old woman suffered serious injuries and her horse was killed in a collision that the California Highway Patrol said was caused by a distracted driver.
The injured woman was identified as Summer Gardner Vigil, 19, of Turlock. According to her family, she sustained a traumatic brain injury from the collision.
“Summer, my sister, is fighting for her life on life support not knowing if she will make it,” wrote Shaunisty Vigil on a GoFundMe account started for Summer.
A vigil will be held Friday night at Doctors Medical Center in Modesto by family and friends, all of whom hoped and prayed Summer will be able to make a recovery.
The collision was reported at 9:05 a.m. Wednesday on E. Harding Road, just east of Youngstown Road.
The woman was riding her horse westbound on E. Harding Road on the right edge of the road.
A 2003 Chevrolet pickup, driven by Isaac Leal, 27, of Delhi, was headed northbound on Youngstown Road. The pickup was approaching a wide turn where Youngstown turns into E. Harding.
Leal told the CHP that he reached down for a water bottle, momentarily taking his eyes off the road.
When he looked up he saw the horse and the rider directly in the path of the truck.
Leal turned the truck to the left and it spun counterclockwise, with the right side striking the horse, said CHP spokesperson Officer Thomas Olsen.
The impact threw Summer off her horse, causing major injuries. She was taken by ambulance to Doctors Medical Center in Modesto.
The horse sustained a fatal injury and died at the scene, according to the CHP.
Shaunisty Vigil said the horse was named Rigs and that he was “beloved” by Summer.
Leal was not injured and remained at the scene.
“The CHP would like to remind all motorists at 50 mph, your vehicle is capable of traveling half a football field in just a matter of two seconds,” Olsen said. “Keep both hands on the steering wheel, your eyes on the road and your mind focused at all times.”
The GoFundMe account will be used to help with medical and legal fees, according to her family. The account is available at https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-summer-get-better-care?utm_campaign=p_cp+share-sheet&utm_medium=copy_link_all&utm_source=customer.