Wheaton woman dies of head injury after falling off horse

A 54-year-old Wheaton woman died after she fell from a horse at a Kendall County farm and struck her head on a concrete lamppost footing, authorities said Wednesday.

The accident happened about 7:30 p.m. Monday as Susan R. Kelly was riding at Judgement Farm, 3428 Roth Road near Oswego. Police said she was wearing a helmet.

“I think it was just the way she happened to land, is what did it,” said Deputy Cmdr. Brian Jahp of the Kendall County sheriff’s office. “People fall off horses quite often.”

Police said several people witnessed the accident and no foul play was suspected.

Kelly was taken by ambulance to Rush-Copley Medical Center in Aurora where she died of blunt force head trauma, according to Kane County Coroner Rob Russell.

Russell said the rider was fatally injured when she apparently hit her head on a concrete footing. Authorities said they did not know what caused her to fall.

“It’s a tragic accident,” Russell said.

Based at Grand Prairie Equestrian Center in Oswego Township, Judgement Farm is a “full service hunter/jumper” facility that focuses on “horsemanship, competitive showing and helping students achieve their goals,” according to its website. A representative there could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

The equestrian group Riders 4 Helmets estimates there are more than 100 horse-riding deaths a year. The American Veterinary Medical Association in Schaumburg said it does not keep statistics on horse rider-related deaths.

Kelly was the vice president of reinsurance operations at CNA, a Chicago-based business and personal insurance agency. Her manager, Peter Lies, said in a statement that Kelly was an incredibly valued employee. “Not only did she excel in the complicated world of reinsurance, she was a mentor to many women in the company and a true leader,” Lies said. “Our hearts go out to her family and friends who should know we already feel her loss and will always honor her memory.”

Ÿ Daily Herald staff writer Jessica Cilella contributed to this report.

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