Colorado mom stranded a week in car thought about her kids

This undated photo provided by Kristin Hopkins' family via St. Anthony Hospital shows Hopkins, 43, of Highlands Ranch, Colo.

LAKEWOOD, Colo. - A woman stranded in her car for up to a week after crashing off a Colorado highway says thinking about her four children helped her survive.

Kristin Hopkins' feet were crushed after landing upside down off U.S. Highway 285. She didn't have any food or water.

Her flipped car was discovered Sunday by a husband and wife driving on the highway on May 4. They stopped after noticing some glare and notified authorities, never expecting the car's passenger to still be alive.

Investigators say Hopkins crashed sometime after she left work on April 27, the last time the single mother of four was seen before she was rescued.

In her first interviews since the crash, Hopkins says the first thing she thought after waking up in her upside down car was that it was her turn to pick up her children at school. Later, she thought about how she had to get back to them because they needed a mother.

Her feet and part of her legs were amputated and Hopkins has begun rehabilitation.

Hopkins, from Highlands Ranch in Douglas County, was driving along the highway when her 2009 Chevrolet Malibu crashed and plunged 80 feet down an embankment, rolling over several times before landing in an aspen grove.

She wrote desperate messages pleading for help on a red and white umbrella that she pushed out of the window of the wrecked car. Firefighter Jim Cravener, one of the first responders on the scene, said the notes appeared to say, "six days, no food, no water; please help me; and need a doctor."

When firefighters arrived, they thought the person inside the mangled vehicle must be dead. Cravener said he asked a colleague to break a window and feel for a pulse just to make sure.

"He started to break the window and she put her hand up to the window," he said. "She really had a strong will to survive."