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Colorado woman loses her feet after surviving days in crashed car

Colorado woman survives as many as five nights trapped in her crashed, flipped-over car
Woman is said to have scribbled notes on umbrella pleading for help after getting in car crash
43-year-old woman needs feet amputated after crash off side of Colorado highway

A Colorado woman who survived as many as five nights trapped in her car after being hurt in a rollover accident and ultimately required amputation of her feet, remained in critical condition Tuesday afternoon, two days after a couple of people spotted her and alerted authorities.

The Park County Sheriff’s Office has said Kristin M. Hopkins, 43, was reported missing in nearby Douglas County on April 29. On Sunday, she was airlifted from the wreckage. Hopkins was found inside her upside-down 2009 Chevrolet Malibu in an aspen grove about 140 feet down the side of U.S. Highway 285.

Hopkins has multiple serious internal and external injuries, family spokesman Brian Willie said in a statement issued on Monday through St. Anthony's Hospital in Lakewood, just west of Denver. The single mother of four children suffered severe damage to her feet, requiring their removal.

The family said it wasn't sure how many days Hopkins was trapped, but the Colorado State Patrol has preliminarily reported that the crash occurred April 29.

First responders said Hopkins scribbled notes pleading for help on an umbrella that she stuck out the window.

"Need Dr. Hurt & Bleeding," read one of the reported messages. The family's statement said it hadn’t seen the umbrella and couldn't comment. But the family was considering the possibility of holding a news conference Tuesday night, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Andy Lombard, who spotted the wreckage, said he was enjoying the scenery and happened to look out his window at the right time. He didn't think Hopkins was alive.

"It was very devastating at first, but truly a miracle that she pulled through it," Lombard, alongside his wife, Hope, told reporters Tuesday. "The real hero ... is her herself for surviving this ordeal."

Depending on what Hopkins remembers when authorities interview her, the cause of the accident may never be known, said Colorado State Patrol trooper Nate Reid. Authorities said the car flipped multiple times down an embankment and struck a tree after running off the right side of the road on a left curve.

Some 2009 Chevrolet Malibus were recently recalled because of power steering issues that the automaker said would require greater driver control at slow speeds, increasing the risk of a crash.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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