STANISLAUS COUNTY (CBS13) — Gina Vigil-Gardner says all she can do is pray as her vivacious, kind and loving daughter Summer keeps fighting for her life after being hit by a distracted driver while riding her horse Riggs near Turlock.
The 19-year-old was taken to the hospital with major injuries.
"Please just pray for my baby girl," Vigil-Gardner said.
The California Highway Patrol says a 27-year-old driver admitted to reaching for something in his truck, taking his eyes off the road, and when he looked up, he saw the horse and slammed into it, killing the animal.
"You messed up a 19-year-old life, you took everything, you tore my family apart," Vigil-Gardner said.
Investigators say the impact threw the teen into the roadway.
"I said a little prayer, hoped she'd be OK, and I found out later she was a lot worse than I was hoping for," said Ron Angin, who lives nearby.
"I don't care if I have to shower her, bathe her, feed her whatever it is, I will take care of my baby till the day I die I can't believe this is happening to her," Vigil-Gardner expressed.
She says Summer grew up caring for animals and loved riding her horse Riggs who was her best friend. He was a present for her 18th birthday.
Vigil-Gardner is holding onto her faith, praying that each day her daughter is in the hospital, she gets stronger. But knowing the condition her daughter is now in, she wants the driver to be held responsible.
"Something needs to be done," she said. "People can't keep getting the smack on the hand and get to drive away home and sit with their family and then feel a little guilt and go on with their day while my daughter is here suffering, and I don't even recognize her face."
The CHP says the driver did cooperate and isn't facing charges at the moment.
for more features.