JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Three days after a St. Johns County teen was badly injured in an ATV accident her family told News4Jax she has a long road of recovery.
The accident happened late Friday night on Jackson Boulevard and Second Avenue.
Ashley Dighton, 17, and her friend, 19-year old Shanna Devoe, were riding a four-wheeler when it collided with an SUV.
Devoe was transported to a hospital while Dighton was flown to UF Health Jacksonville with life-threatening injuries. Dighton had her second surgery Monday afternoon, and her family is asking for prayers -- as they said her road to recovery will be difficult.
"It's heartbreaking. It's not something you want to hear at all," said Sarah Dighton, Ashley's cousin. "That's my baby cousin. That's my kinship, my blood."
"We just don't want her to be in pain," Sarah Dighton said. "We want her to be comfortable."
Ashley's right leg and hip were fractured. She's had two surgeries and two blood transfusions. A rod was placed in her thigh bone and her family said she will need a second one. At times, her oxygen levels have been low.
Ashley's family said Devoe has been released from the hospital and has come to visit Ashley.
Although these next days and weeks are crucial, Ashley's family said she is already looking toward the future.
"She wants to get back on a horse," Sarah Dighton said. "My promise is to take her to the farm in Indiana where my horse is, and she's going to ride one."
Ashley's grandparents said, "We are worried about Ashley and all the surgeries she is having to go through. There is a long road ahead of her for recovery, and we will all be there for her. We would like to thank everyone for all the thoughts and prayers. Please keep them coming. Our family is united in the long battle ahead."
Ashley's family said even when she is released from the hospital, she'll need extensive rehabilitation and physical therapy. But they're certain of one thing: she will make it through this.
"She is strong-spirited. She is strong-willed," Sarah Dighton said. "There's nothing she can't do. Nothing she can't do. She's got her mind set."
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