Family of 19-Year Old Accident Victim Face Tough Decision

The parents of a young woman who was struck and gravely injured in Port Aransas this weekend still have many questions about how the accident happened.

Port Aransas police say 19-year old Ashley Contrell-Penny was walking along the 1700 block of Highway 361 when she was struck by a vehicle. It happened just before 10 p.m. Saturday.

Her family keeps looking at picture after picture of the scene of the accident, trying to make sense of it all. The 19-year old suffered severe head injuries, and on Wednesday, the family was faced with the difficult decision of taking her off of life support as they prepare to donate her organs.

"She's always been a loving, caring person," said Michael Penny, Ashley's father. "They say it's possible she can save seven people's lives, and that is what she is going to do."

Ashley's parents said their daughter had just left her job from Pizza Hut and was walking along the side of Highway 361. She was on her way to a friend's home, something they say she has done many times before; but this past Saturday night, she was struck by a car. The driver was given a sobriety test and police say he showed no signs of intoxication and was let go.

At this time, there are no charges against that driver, but Ashley's family believes there should be.

"What happened with this guy hitting my daughter and taking her out of this world was not right. To me, it feels like they treated my daughter like you would a dog. You hit a dog and you keep going. Forget if they are dead or it's hurt," said Dorothy Toler, Ashley's mother.

"The point of impact was six feet off the roadway line. The point of impact was here," Penny said. "That's 56 feet. That's a hard hit. The speed limit here is supposed to be 45."

Police said the driver realized he struck something and did stop. According to officers, the accident remains under investigation. Police also told Ashley's family that Ashley was wearing a black uniform at the time of the impact and was walking with traffic, something her family says shouldn't matter if the driver left the roadway.

The family is also calling for the City of Port Aransas to install sidewalks along that stretch of road, saying their daughter would still be here if there was a sidewalk. The family has contacted an attorney.

3News reached out to the Port Aransas Police Department, which is preparing to release a statement to us Thursday morning.


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