AURORA, Colo. - A 37-year-old mother who was pinned underneath a car with her 2-year-old daughter thanked those who saved her by lifting a 2,500-pound car off them after they were run over while crossing in the middle of the block in Aurora.
Kipinga Muanza Kalala talked from her hospital bed on Wednesday as she described the events of Dec. 3.
Kalala had just picked up her three children at a daycare center on the north side of East Exposition when they made the fateful crossing, heading to a nearby Walmart on the south side of the street.
"I decide to walk across the street. When I start to cross, I look to my left and my right. As soon as we were crossing, there was one car coming," she said. "It was going to hit one of my twins, I push him. I took his place. I was praying God, save me with my kids. I was trying to cover my daughter."
Police said a white Kia Rio, driven by 52-year-old Aurora resident, Michael Lovato, struck Kalala as she was holding her 2-year-old, pinning them under his car.
"I remember one guy told me, 'Are you OK? Are you OK?' and I was lifting my head to tell him to push the car back so I could feel comfortable, and then I passed out," Kalala said.
The driver pulled the two from under his car as two Aurora police officers and several Good Samaritans lifted the car off the pair.
"I figured if we didn't get the car off them immediately, there would be some breathing issues, and I didn't know if they'd survive," said Aurora police Sgt. Matt Brukbacher.
Kalala is still recovering at Aurora Medical Center South, having suffered a head injury as well as cut and bruises and several broken bones. Her daughter suffered burns from the vehicle's exhaust, abrasions and bruises. Her twin boys did not suffer any serious injuries.
Kalala said she is so thankful for those who rescued her and her daughter.
"I'm glad I can talk to you now. I'm happy to be here," she said. "I just want to thank (the rescuers) so much. God bless them,"
When asked what she missed most while in the hospital, she was quick to answer, "My babies. I miss them when I get up in the morning. They're everything to me."
She was asked what hurts as she recovers, and she replied, "Everything. Every day it hurts bad, but I know God's going to get me out of here."
She said even though everything hurts, she's in good spirits.
"My legs (are) OK. I can stand up now. I can talk now. I can eat," she said. "I'm happy to be here, only for them (her children)."
Police said Lovato was driving under the posted speed limit and did not see the people crossing in the middle of the street before it was too late to react.