Couple who found missing woman calls her a 'hero'

PARK COUNTY - She still has a tough road ahead, but now Kristin Hopkins has her second chance. It was the curiosity to take a closer look that likely saved her life.

She was found in a ravine Sunday in Park County, trapped in her car and seriously hurt. That's when a couple from Fairplay spotted something perhaps thousands of others overlooked.

When Hopkins was driving her car on Highway 285 she was heading south. Her car went off the road at a point where the road curves sharply along a steep drop off. You might say it's surprising nobody saw her after several days. But it's even more surprising someone finally did.

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"It was Andy," said Hope Lombard. "We're just ordinary folks coming home from work," Andy Lombard said back, before a crowdof media at the Park County Sheriff's Office, Tuesday.

They'd driven the road hundreds of time but this time was not ordinary. Andy and Hope Lombard gave Hopkins the hope to hold on, just a bit longer.

"It was horrific. It was a horrific crash scene," Andy said. "We just happened to have our eyes open at the right time."

Hopkins car tumbled 140 feet down the steep embankment before finally stopping. It was practically out of view. But Andy's curiosity was too strong to ignore.

"He does this all the time. It didn't surprise me that he said pull over," Hope said.

Andy noticed what he called a flash of color in the trees.

"You see something like that and it's just, I got to know. I got to know if it's been checked out already," Andy said. "Normally it has been. I never expected to find what I found."

"She looked beat up really bad," Fairplay Police Chief David Gottschalk said.

After the Lombard's called for help, Gottschalk was one of the first people there. He thought Hopkins had passed, but she was alive.

"Miracle, that's probably the best word I could use," Gottschalk said. "Her car was crushed. She was stuck inside with no food or water, though still, she had hung on."

When Andy and Hope found out, they were shocked and proud.

"Of course I started crying," Hope said. "We never expected to hear that."

"The story is about her and the rescue. That's the story right there," Andy added. "What we did, we just happened to look at the right place at the right time."

The Lombard's call Hopkins the true hero. They say they just want to get the chance to meet her, to tell her that in person.

Because of her injuries, Hopkins' feet were amputated Monday. She's still listed in critical condition but her health is slowly improving. Wednesday she will celebrate her 44th birthday.

(KUSA-TV © 2014 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)


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