Horse rider and horse killed by distracted driver Wednesday morning

On Wednesday, August 11th, 2021, at 9:05 am, the California Highway Patrol, Turlock Rural Fire Protection District, and American Medical Response were dispatched to a reported vehicle collision with injuries at the intersection of E Harding Rd and Youngstown Rd, Turlock.

When crews arrived on scene, they located a single vehicle involved that had struck a horse being ridden by a subject. The vehicle was a Chevrolet pickup. Its driver, later identified as Isaac Leal, 27, of Delhi, was uninjured. The horse rider, later identified as Summer Vigil-Gardner, 19, of Turlock, was ground transported by American Medical Response to a local hospital with major injuries. She later succumbed to her injuries at the hospital. The horse was immediately killed in the collision.

Officers began investigating and determined that Leal was traveling northbound on Youngstown Rd approaching E Harding Rd which is a sweeping left turn, while Vigil-Gardner was traveling westbound on E Harding Rd approaching Youngstown Rd on the right edge of the road. Leal admitted to looking down for a few seconds to grab something and when he looked up, he saw Vigil-Gardner directly in front of him. He immediately made a hard left turn, which caused the pickup truck to rotate in a counter-clockwise direction. The rotation caused the right side of the pickup truck to collide with Vigil-Gardner, ejecting her from the horse and throwing her onto the ground.

The California Highway Patrol would like to remind all motorists that at 50 miles per hour, your vehicle is capable of traveling half the length of a football field in just a matter of two seconds. Keep both hands on the steering wheel, your eyes on the road, and your mind focused at all times. The consequences of not doing so could be deadly, as seen in this example.

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