karen hopkins teen memoriam

It was May 13, 2007 and the day started out by Karen calling me and waking me up to say, “Happy Mother’s Day.” I got ready and went to see Karen and Sarah (her sister). When I got to my mom’s house, Karen was on the phone with her boyfriend. Karen and her sister had been fighting and Karen was trying to calm down. After I was there for a little while, both girls had apologized to each other and hugged.

Karen had work that evening until 10 p.m. and did not have a way to get home because her car was broken down at the time. Her foster mom had told her that she either needed to find a ride or walk home after work. In order for her not to miss work as a CAN, she arranged with her grandparents to take their Toyota pickup truck.

I helped Karen pack her clothes so she could go to work and then back to her foster home. When everything was packed and she was ready to leave she kissed everybody. She kissed me last on the left cheek and said, “I love you, Mom. Happy Mother’s Day and I’ll see you next weekend.” She then walked out onto the porch and screamed, “I love everybody in my family!” I didn’t know that those would be the last words I would ever hear Karen say.

She got into the truck, put on her seat belt, and drove away. Ten minutes later she passed a vehicle, her suitcase slid, and she reached over to pull the suitcase back up onto the seat. When she did that the truck swerved a little and she tried to correct it, but over-corrected. She then tried to correct it again, but over-corrected and the truck started fishtailing. Then the truck went off the road and flipped end-over-end once and then rolled twice. Somehow in the course of all of this her seat belt had come off and she was thrown from the truck.

The EMTs worked on Karen for quite awhile. When I got there they were putting her into the ambulance. The police wouldn’t even let me get close to Karen. I followed the ambulance to the hospital. When I got there I wanted to go to her, but the doctors made me wait until they were done hooking her up to machines. They kept Karen at Castleview Hospital for four hours trying to get her stabilized. She went into cardiac arrest three times before she was taken by Life Flight to the University of Utah Hospital. Once she was there they took her into surgery immediately; however, she died on the operating table. The doctor told me that Karen’s liver was lacerated in the part that clots the blood, she had two head injuries, her neck was broken in three places, and that her left arm and left leg were broken. He said if Karen would have lived she would have been paralyzed from the neck down with limited brain function.

The only thing left for me to do at the hospital was to kiss my daughter, my Karen, goodbye.

This was the most gut-wrenching feeling and the worst day of my life. I still feel the loss and emptiness every day without Karen here with me. Thank God I still have my daughter, Sarah.

I still feel the loss and emptiness every day without Karen here with me.

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