Woman stranded for days after Colorado car crash still critical

LAKEWOOD, Colo. - A woman who survived for days after crashing off a Colorado highway faces a long recovery.

Kristin Hopkins was in critical condition Wednesday, her 44th birthday, after doctors were forced to remove both of her feet.

Her flipped car was discovered Sunday by a husband and wife driving on U.S. Highway 285. 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.

Her parents and doctors were scheduled to talk about her recovery Wednesday, but St. Anthony's Hospital in suburban Denver canceled the press conference, saying the family wasn't ready to talk.

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."