Ballinger Teen Dies Following Horse Riding Accident

A Ballinger teenager who was critically injured in a horseback riding accident Tuesday has been taken off life support at a San Angelo hospital.
BALLINGER, TX – A Ballinger teenager who was critically injured in a horseback riding accident Tuesday has been taken off life support at a San Angelo hospital.

17-year-old Ashley Virden was riding horses with her father on family property southeast of Ballinger Tuesday afternoon when the horse became spooked and bucked Ashley off.

The horse then stepped on the back of her head, which has left Ashley in serious condition due to the resulting brain trauma and swelling.

Her father immediately called 9-1-1, and when medics arrived, they described her as "unresponsive." Ashley was flown to Shannon Medical Center in San Angelo. 

She was taken off of life support Thursday evening. Her family tells us she was an organ donor and her lungs will be given to someone in need. 

With a deep passion for horses, Ashley Virden, has been actively involved in barrel racing for several years. Ballinger High School graduate, Austin Sauceda, says Virden embraced each moment in her life.

"What she wanted she believed, and she went for it whether she succeeded or not she still did what she wanted. When she fell she got back up, she kept going and pushed forward," Sauceda said.

Virden's best friend, Hadley Hatler, says despite the tragic incident, Virden was doing what she loved in those final moments.

"I was there at the hospital with her family the whole time and while I didn't really know how to take it yet, I just kept thinking about her the whole time and her dad was there and was very strong and he told me that just to remember that she loved us all and to stay strong for her," Hatler said.

Friends and the community of Ballinger have been grieving together at the Community Center with the help from pastors and counselors.

(Information from BigCountryHomepage.com and ConchoValleyHomepage.com)
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