In the 1970s, two young mothers found themselves with children, struggling to make ends meet. They had known each other for over a decade and they decided to do the one thing that would allow them to survive until times got better. They decided to share a small apartment, pool their money together, and stretch meals as far as they could. They decided to survive.
These two women were strong and wouldn't let the circumstances in which they were found tear their families apart. One of these women was my mom. The other was Laura Jean Thomas. Many in our family called her "Aunt Laura." I just called her Laura.
When families live this way, a special bond is formed. To say it makes them close would be an understatement. It made them family. And I can't say it was the most pleasant living arrangement, but we did indeed survive.
And in addition to sharing an apartment, we all shared moments of sadness, as well as moments of joy. In short, we share our lives as most families do.
On the morning of April 25, Laura and four other members of her family headed northbound from San Diego on the I-805 at Sorrento Valley in a Toyota RAV4. Her son Brian Thomas drove. They were on their way to Disneyland. A woman in a silver Honda sedan with Arizona plates drove erratically, and ultimately made an unsafe lane change, which caused a chain reaction.
The RAV4 skidded out of control, rolled, and landed partially over the edge of the overpass above a highway construction site. Seeing the vehicle in its precarious situation, the workers from the site moved a heavy duty forklift into position to support the vehicle until rescue personnel arrived.
Four of the occupants, although injured, were pulled out alive. But Laura Thomas -- a loving mother and a wonderful grandmother -- was killed at the hands of a hit-and-run driver who continued on her way without a second thought.
Also in the vehicle were Brian's wife, Rebecca, and their eight-year-old son. It was to be his first trip to The Magic Kingdom. He was forever robbed of spending this special moment with his grandmother.
The family is asking for help in finding the hit-and-run driver. If anyone has any information which can lead to the arrest of the perpetrator, please call the California Highway Patrol at (619) 220-5492.
On a personal note, I'll miss Laura Jean Thomas. She was one of those women many people might not notice, yet those of us whose lives she touched know she would be missed if God had never put her on this earth.
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