Highlands Ranch

Recovery continues for local woman

Highlands Ranch mother keeps hope in tomorrow

Kristin Hopkins goes through a series of exercises during a rehabilitation session May 21 at St. Anthony Hospital. Courtesy photo
Kristin Hopkins crashed her red Chevrolet Malibu, pictured above, some time after April 27. Courtesy photo
Kristin Hopkins is transferred to a rehabilitation facility on May 29. Courtesy photo

Kristin Hopkins says she only remembers “bits and pieces” of the week she spent cocooned in the ruins of her red Chevrolet Malibu after it careened and crashed off of U.S. 285. 

Now, the Highlands Ranch mother of four, who lost both feet after the accident, is hopeful she’ll walk again soon with the help of prosthetics and physical therapy.

“I was there for six days,” Hopkins said in a phone interview. “I think the total amount of time I was awake was three to four hours when I was conscious. I remember writing on the umbrella. I remember trying to start the car, but I don’t know where I was going to go.”

Hopkins crashed her car some time after April 27, two days before her parents reported her missing to the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, off of U.S. 285 near Fairplay. She was discovered by a couple driving by on May 4. 

In the time she spent trapped and upside down, Hopkins said she also remembered trying to push out her shattered windows with a snow scraper and thinking about picking up her children from school. When she reached for her umbrella, scrawling “Need Dr! Hurt & Bleeding” and “Thirsty and hungry, six days with no food or water,” she called it her “glory moment.”

“I totally thought someone would see my little umbrella,” she said. 

“When I came to, I was like, `what the heck happened’ and I looked around and realized I was in an accident. I never freaked out, never had a thought like, you know, `this is the end,’ ” Hopkins said. “ `It will be tomorrow.’ I never had a bad thought. `Tomorrow will be the day.’ ”

In the days after she was found, Hopkins said she remembers hearing thechatter of nurses and frantically trying to write a message to them, saying she cried when she was first able to communicate with them.

Hopkins said she still doesn’t remember why she traveled to Park County in the first place. 

“I’ve seen neurologists and they’ve told me, `you know, you may never remember.’ The brain is an interesting thing,” Hopkins said. “Half of me would like to know, the other half is OK not knowing.”

Hopkins was moved from St. Anthony Hospital in Lakewood, where she has been recovering, to a rehab facility on May 29, something her father Glen Morgan called “a great step in her progress.”

“It has been quite exhausting,” Morgan said. “From not knowing where she was and then finding out that she was found, it was quite draining to say the least. (My wife and I) continue to remark to each other how much attitude she has in getting through what she has endured. She is a strong woman and we compliment her every chance we get.”

Hopkins said her children have been coping well with the accident and the amputation of her feet. She has, too, for that matter.

“I keep saying this is my reality. This is me, this is my life now,” she said. “I can curl up and cry, or I can show everyone what I can do. Me crying cannot help and it won’t make my feet grow back.”

Hopkins said her goal is to “make my life as normal as possible,” whether that means going back to work or going to school for certification to become a teacher or, a new career she’s considering, a profession in physical therapy. 

“Am I going to have setbacks? Yes,” she said. “Am I going to just move on and not worry? Yes, I am.”