State fair tragedy claims sixth victim

Jenny Haskell was critically injured last Saturday in the State Fair accident.

The Indiana State Fair tragedy claimed another victim Friday. Ball State Senior Jenny Haskell, who was among the dozens of people injured in the State Fair tragedy, died from her injuries Friday morning.

Friends called Jenny Haskell a fighter, but at 8:15 Friday morning, six days after she was seriously hurt, she lost her battle. 

"From what I understand, she tried as hard as she could and God just took her," said Patti Doeltz, softball coach.

Doeltz was one of scores of people who visited Jenny in the hospital this week. She was praying for her recovery when she got the news. 

"I was saddened. There was nothing I could do, nothing I could say. I just went into a state of shock, basically," she said.

Jenny was in the front row of the Sugarland concert with her best friend 23-year-old Alina Bigjohny, who died the night of the collapse. 

Jenny was a standout softball player, making her mark playing second base.  On Thursday night, dozens of people came to a vigil for her in the Randolph County community of Parker City. Jenny's friends gathered at a softball diamond.

Her high school softball coach Andrea Cope told us, "She could cover her area and half the other field....when we had a challenge, when we were down in a game, she was the one that would never give up."

Monroe Central sports announcer Chris Coburn called her a fighter. "There was no quit in Jenny ever," said Coburn. "She was one of those people that no matter what challenges were put in front of her, she tackled it."

The 22-year-old Monroe Central graduate and Ball State senior was severely injured at the State Fair. She was in the front row when the stage collapsed. She suffered severe head trauma including brain damage.

About 100 people came to show their support in the small Randolph County town of Parker City. 

"Because it's a small community, everybody knows everybody and Jenny was very, very well loved.  And that was obvious from last night," said Molly Huffman, Jenny's Spanish teacher.

Huffman said Jenny had a zest for life.  An unforgettable student who was about to begin her senior year at Ball State, she was studying sports medicine to become an athletic trainer. 

 Ball State University issued the following statement:

Jennifer "Jenny" Haskell, injured in the Aug. 13 Indiana State Fairstage collapse, died the morning of Aug. 19, 2011. Haskell was a Ball State senior majoring in exercise science. She also served on the campus landscaping crew.

Jenny's father, John Haskell of Muncie, Ind., and her mothers, Mary Haskell and Judy Oakerson, both of Parker City, Ind., issued the following joint statement: "After a long, courageous battle, Jenny Haskell died at 8:15 this morning from her injuries sustained from the tragedy at the State Fair. Jenny's family would like to thank everyone for the support and prayers during this difficult time. Continued support and prayers for the remaining victims would be greatly appreciated."

"The Ball State community is deeply saddened to learn of Jenny's passing," said President Jo Ann M. Gora. "I extend to her mothers, father, family and friends my deepest sympathies. Jenny was a dedicated student both in and out of the classroom. As the semester begins, I ask that the campus and our visitors take a moment to appreciate her hard work to make campus beautiful as a student landscaper. She took deep pride in her contributions to the campus. And as a passionate Cardinal, she loved cheering for the women's basketball team. The Ball State family will continue to hold Jenny's family and friends and everyone affected by this tragedy in our thoughts and prayers."

Haskell's family asked for respect of their privacy at this difficult time. All media inquiries should be directed to Ball State University communications.

Haskell, who lived in Muncie, was a graduate ofMonroe Central Junior-Senior High School, where she was an honor-roll student and member of the school's basketball and softball teams. Haskell planned on becoming an athletic trainer.

Jenny's friends are trying to organize a benefit in her honor. See details.