Adams, Austin mourn Saturday crash victim

Published 9:37am Tuesday, September 18, 2012

ADAMS — Monday was a difficult day for people from Adams, Austin and for anyone who knew Ashton May.

May, 25, of Adams, died Sunday after her car struck a semi truck north of Adams at about 3:50 p.m. Saturday. According to the Mower County sheriff’s report, May went into the ditch along 660th Avenue and Mower County Road 7, came back onto the road and struck the semi. The semi driver, Patrick Thome of rural Adams, was uninjured.

A motorcycle rider, Adam Kiefer, 19, who did not have time to stop, laid his bike down and was injured. Kiefer’s sister, Tina, who was on scene, said Kiefer fractured his right wrist, received severe road rash and needs shoulder surgery. The Kiefers are cousins to May.

The Mayo One helicopter took May to St. Marys Hospital in Rochester where she died. The Mower County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the cause of the accident.

“She will be missed in a lot of ways, not just from work,” said Kim Underwood, Austin Parks and Recreation director.

Underwood worked with May for six summers at Parks and Rec, and the main thing she and others say about May is how well she got along with everybody — from kids to grandparents. May was a 10-time all-American track star at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, said Valerie Pitzen, who worked closely with May.

Pitzen was too distraught as of Monday morning to talk much about May. The two were very close.

“They just don’t come any better,” was all she said.

Underwood agrees.

“The kid was awesome, that’s all I can say about her,” she said.

Underwood’s children always looked for May when they went into the parks and rec office. May was simply good with people, Underwood said.

“She got along great with all ages,” she added.

Students, athletes and coaches at the La Crosse are devastated, said Pat Healy, who coached May at that college. Ashton was entering her third year as an assistant track coach at La Crosse, as well.

“Ashton was probably one of the most positive people I’ve ever been around,” Healy said, who noted how May was excited to teach middle-schoolers and coach volleyball, as well. May currently holds four school records at La Crosse. She competed in triple jump, long jump and sprint relays. With her absence, Healy said, the team is motivated to run even harder.

“The only thing I can say is that the loss of Ashton leaves a very big hole in our team,” Healy said.

A funeral for May will be held 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Adams. There will be a 3 to 7 p.m. rosary service on Friday at Adams Funeral Home. Another visitation will be held at 9 a.m. Saturday.