The Colorado woman who spent nearly a week alone in her crashed car says it was an “aha moment” and an umbrella that likely saved her life.
“It was my little MacGyver moment,” Kristin Hopkins, 44, told ABC News.
Hopkins’ car careened off a Colorado highway on April 7 and landed upside down 200 feet away in a thicket of trees. When she came to, Hopkins looked around and found a red and white umbrella she had stored in the car.
“I swear that was going to be my saving grace,” Hopkins said. “I found my purse, dug through my purse and found a Sharpie and attempted to write my little messages of ‘Come get me.’”
Hopkins was found alive in her Chevrolet Malibu May 4 by a couple, Andy and Hope Lombard, who initially thought they had found a dead body.
Rescuers noticed that Hopkins had left notes on an umbrella to try to catch the attention of passing drivers, including “need a doctor,” and, “please help me.”
“I found out today that the doctors told my parents I had about eight hours left,” Hopkins said. “They are my angels. They saved me.”
Hopkins, a single mother of four, says her first thought after she woke up the morning after the crash was of her children.
“The first thing that came to my mind was, ‘Oh my God, I have to go pick up my kids. It’s a school day,’” she said.
Instead, Hopkins would spend the next week trying to survive with only one packet of instant oatmeal in her car and severe injuries.
“I noticed my feet were kind of not the right color, size or anything so I knew those were hurt,” Hopkins said. “But nothing really hurt.”
“The only thing I had was one little packet of instant oatmeal,” she recalled. “I tried to eat it and, after like two bites, without water and my mouth so dry, it didn’t work.”
Hopkins remains hospitalized in Colorado today after having both of her legs amputated. She will spend a few weeks learning to walk on her prosthetic legs before going home to the four kids.
“I had to keep going because they need a mom,” Hopkins said. “I couldn’t leave my kids.”
“Somehow I needed to have this happen for me to realize something,” she said. “What that something is, I don’t know, but I will figure it out.”