By Jamie Leary
DENVER (CBS4) – Denver police continue to look into leads in a “no-contact” hit-and-run that occurred on Easter Sunday on Peña Boulevard.
Witnesses told police a woman driving a newer model, white Subaru Crosstrek with brewery and ski stickers on it made a last minute lane change near Tower Road, causing a chain reaction crash.
Several drivers were forced to dart out of the way including Kimberly Murray, 49, who sustained the most serious injuries. Murray’s car rolled 3 times, nearly killing her and claiming the life of her beloved dog Maggie.
On Wednesday, Murray’s family spoke to CBS4, calling for the driver to come forward.
“From the witnesses on scene they had an interaction with her and she jumped back in the car and drove away,” said Gorgianna Bader, Kimberly’s sister. “I just want her to know a whole world is shattered with this action … just come forward.”
Kimberly’s family didn’t hesitate when asked if they would forgive the driver. They all agreed they would. They can’t believe she hasn’t.
“I have a hard time understanding how any human being could do something like that … knowing what she caused?” said Ella Rohleder, Kimberly’s mother.
Kimberly’s father, Michael Rohleder, says he wants to see his strong independent daughter back to her normal self. He descried how she fell in love with competitive weightlifting, bought her first home recently, is an avid motorcyclist and a waitress. All things doctors say will take time to return to if she can make a full recovery.
With Kimberly’s permission, one of her surgeons, Dr. Franklin Wright, detailed the severity of the situation via e-mail:
“We have had he pleasure of taking care of Ms. Murray at the University of Colorado Hospital. I was the trauma surgeon on call when she came in and we were waiting for her in the emergency department. She had significant injuries including a mangled left left with open fractures and a large abrasion/bruising across her lower abdomen. We had heard that she was the restrained driver and had been struck at highway speeds and had rolled over multiple times. She was conscious but was having difficulty breathing and had a low blood pressure prior to arrival in the hospital. A breathing tube was placed by our emergency department colleagues. Our additional X-ray of her chest showed that her left diaphragm had ruptured, allowing her stomach and other abdominal organs to push up into her left chest. Her blood pressure began dropping and we were actively transfusing blood so we decided to emergently go to the operating room. Our orthopedic surgical colleagues joined us to washout and temporarily stabilize her broken left leg and I called our vascular surgery colleagues to help us evaluate the blood flow to her foot since her foot was cold and pale without a pulse we could feel. Upon opening her abdomen we encountered severe trauma the abdominal wall with both central and left sided muscles of the abdominal wall torn in half. A segment of her small bowel had torn off of it’s blood supply and she was actively bleeding, which we controlled. This segment of bowel had also perforated or “popped” from the pressure and we removed this piece of her bowel. Her left diaphragm had split open along a 6 inch length and her entire stomach, her spleen, and part of her colon were up in her left chest cavity. We carefully pulled these back into the abdominal cavity, placed drainage tubes into the chest cavity and repaired the hole in the diaphragm. While we were doing this, our orthopedic colleagues were re-aligning the broken bones in her left leg and our vascular colleagues then confirmed that she had adequate blood flow to her foot. She received a large amount of blood but became more stable and we put a temporary covering over her abdominal contents. We brought her to the Surgical Trauma Intensive Care Unit and continued optimizing her medical status. We now could perform additional tests since she was more medically stable and confirmed that she fortunately had no injuries to the brain. We did find that she had broken 5 ribs on her left side, and had a fracture of her lumbar (lower) spine but did not have any injury to the spinal cord. She did have a small injury to the lining of the aorta (major blood vessel to the abdomen and legs) in it’s lower portion, which again demonstrates the immense forces she experienced in this collision. We returned to the operating room a day and a half later to connect her bowel and repair the torn muscles in the abdominal wall. We began closing her abdominal wall but needed to return to the operating room again 2 days later to completely close her abdomen safely. She has had to go back to the operating room once more since her bowel kinked off and developed a small leak where we had reconnected it and had to be repaired. She recently had additional surgery on her leg to further fix the broken bones.
She is doing well now despite her long list of serious injuries but has a long road ahead of her, and may require additional stabilization procedure for her left knee. She has a passion for weightlifting and this will be challenging for her both due to the significant abdominal wall muscle injury as well as the injury to the left leg and knee. She will need significant therapy however she is a very strong person both physically and mentally with a great attitude and a very supportive family.
It has been a privilege to be part of large and multidisciplinary team that helped provide her trauma care.”
Murray’s family has set up a GoFundMe campaign to help her in her recovery.
If you know anything about this incident or the suspect, you’re asked to call Metro Denver Crime Stoppers at (720) 913-7867.
Jamie Leary joined the CBS4 team in 2015 and currently works as a reporter for CBS4 News at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. She couldn’t imagine a better place to live and work and will stop at nothing to find the next great story. Jamie loves learning about and hearing from her fellow community members, so connect with her on Facebook or Twitter @JamieALeary.