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EARLIER: ‘She always had a smile’

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Former SCHS basketball star Ford killed in crash, 3 others injured

By Lisa King

Some will remember Ashley Ford for her abilities on the basketball court and her positive attitude, but her mother said she will miss her for something much more special – a really sweet smile.

"You never saw her without a big smile on her face," Kim Hardin said Thursday. "Her smile would just light up the whole room."

Ford, 20, a former Shelby County High School basketball star, died Monday night when the car she was driving was struck by an oncoming pickup truck on Midland Trail in Shelbyville.

She was pronounced dead at the scene, and three passengers in her car were hospitalized after her 1999 Subaru was struck by a 2001 Chevy pickup truck driven by Darrell Tipton, 25, of Bagdad.

David Baker, a student at Shelby County High School, was airlifted to the University of Louisville, where he was in serious condition Tuesday in the hospital's ICU.

Ford's other two passengers, Devon Peach and Jona-Butler, 20, were taken to Jewish Hospital Shelbyville, where they were treated and released.

Tipton was not injured.

Shelby County Sheriff's Detective Jason Rice said the accident happened when Ford pulled out of the Speedway Station parking lot on Midland Trail into the path of Tipton's westbound truck, which struck her Subaru in the driver's door.

He added that speed was not a factor in the crash, and although lab tests have not yet been completed, neither alcohol nor drugs is suspected to have been a factor.

Rice said that according to witnesses, the view of one or both drivers might have been obstructed by other vehicles.

No charges have been filed in the crash.

Shelby County Chief Deputy Coroner Jeff Ivers said Ford, who had to be cut out of her vehicle by Shelby County firefighters using the "Jaws of Life," died of multiple trauma. She was not wearing a seat belt.

Ford, who played forward at Shelby County High School until she graduated in 2007 and for one season at Midway College (2007-2008), was known for her three-point shot.

Gary Kidwell, who was principal at the high school when Ford was a student there, described her as a great kid and a good student athlete whom everybody liked.

"She was always happy; she just had the best attitude," he said. "I never heard anything negative about her. It's so sad. She was so young, and she had her whole life ahead of her."

Mike Hardin, Ford's stepfather, said the tragedy has been very hard on the family.

"They called her father [Darryl Hicks Sr.] last night and told him she'd been in a fender bender, then they told him one of them was killed, but they didn't know which one, and then he found out it was her," he said.

After leaving Midway, Ford worked at Ledco, and she also was a member of Mount Zion Baptist Church.

Kim Hardin said her daughter loved to sing and dance as much as she loved basketball.

"She would come home after working all night and just dance in the door,” Hardin said, choking, “and I'd say, 'Girl, aren't your legs tired?' and she would just grin at me. My little girl was so wonderful."

   Burial fund established

A burial fund for Ashley Renae Ford has been set up at Commonwealth Bank.

Tyler Long, vice president of the bank, said donations may be made at any Commonwealth Bank location in Shelby County.