Highway 285 crash survivor Kristin Hopkins starts rehabilitation

DENVER - The woman who crashed on Highway 285 and was trapped in her car for days has lost her feet and part of her legs.

Kristin Hopkins, 44, is slowly improving.

Investigators say Hopkins crashed sometime after she left work on April 27.

Hopkins remembers waking up the next day. She was upside down.

"It was daylight and I wasn't in my seatbelt," Hopkins told Good Morning America. "[I] was lying on the roof of the car because the car had flipped. I had no idea where I was, what happened or anything."

"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. It's Monday, it's my day to pick up the kids,'" Hopkins said.

Hopkins said she couldn't get out the front or back of the car.

"[I] tried to go out frontwards. I couldn't get out that way and then I was exhausted [and] took a little nap," Hopkins said. "Then I mustered the energy and tried to go out backwards and couldn't get out that way and kind of took another little nap."

Hopkins saw the keys were in the ignition and tried to turn the car on.

"I don't know where I was going to go, but  you know, [I] tried to see what would happen," Hopkins said.

The radio didn't work.

The horn didn't work.

The lights didn't work.

At the time, Hopkins didn't know the battery was 30 feet away from the car.

And even if she had started the car, it wasn't going anywhere, since it was upside down.

But she didn't give up.

"I couldn't push the windows out. When I was upset, I'd try to smash the windows with the snow scraper to see if I could break out and I couldn't," Hopkins.

Then Hopkins spotted her red and white umbrella.

"That was kind of my, 'Oh, this will work, you know, it's bright-colored, somebody will see it,'" Hopkins explained.

She said she found her purse and dug through it for a Sharpie.

Hopkins wrote messages on the umbrella.

"My little messages of 'Come get me,' you know?" Hopkins said. "I swear that was going to be my saving grace."

"Need Dr! Hurt + bleeding," she wrote on one panel of the umbrella.

Another panel said, "Thirsty + hungry 6 days no food or water."

Hopkins hoped that by sticking the umbrella out the window, somebody would see it.

"The car that was upside down in the woods wasn't a big enough hint," Hopkins said. "That someone needed to see the red and white umbrella."

Hopkins also didn't realize she was 140 feet below Highway 285. But even as days went by, she didn't give up.

"I'm a mom, I had kids to worry about, kids to take care of," Hopkins said. "I had to keep going because they needed a mom. I couldn't leave my kids."

Her flipped car was discovered May 4 by a couple driving on U.S. Highway 285. They stopped after noticing some glare and notified authorities, never expecting the car's driver to still be alive.

Hopkins was hospitalized in critical condition, but she survived surgery and is continuing to improve.

She started rehabilitation on Friday and will be fitted for prosthetics in a few weeks.

If you'd like to help the family, donations can be made to the Kristin Hopkins Donation Fund at any Chase Bank. The Kristin Hopkins Recovery Facebook page also has a link accepting donations via PayPal.

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