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[ Personal Narratives ]

The Crash

May 1, 2008

SANTA CRUZ, CA- A 40-year-old Santa Cruz woman facing manslaughter charges following a car crash that left one person dead was released from Dominican Hospital and is being held in County Jail in lieu of $2 million bail.

Carrie Smith faces one charge of gross vehicular manslaughter and one charge of DUI causing injury, both felonies. She also faces a charge of possession of methamphetamine, a misdemeanor, according to a Highway Patrol officer.

The crash occurred at 2:30 a.m. on May 1 on Highway 17, south of Summit Road.

Smith was driving a Volkswagen Jetta when collided with a Honda Accord driven by 49-year-old Karen Hall of Scotts Valley.

Hall was pronounced dead at the scene.

Bridget Hall, 16, a passenger in the Honda, survived and is being treated for non-life threatening injuries, the CHP said.

Smith, who suffered a neck injury in the collision, told authorities that she had been drinking with friends earlier in the evening before the crash.

May 8, 2008

KAREN HALL, 49

Karen Louise Hall, age 49, of Scotts Valley, California, passed away unexpectedly Saturday (May 1, 2008) after a tragic automobile collision.

Karen was born in San Francisco, California on December 27, 1966 and moved to Scotts Valley in 1986. She was married to Walter Hall in 1994. She was the daughter of Frank and Betty Cooke. Karen worked at a local credit union for 10 years where she had countless friends. Besides her husband, Walter, Karen leaves her daughter, Bridget Hall of Scotts Valley, CA, and brother and sis-in-law, Bill and Angelina Morris. Karen also leaves behind her beloved nieces, Summer and Daisy Morris, as well as numerous aunts, uncles, cousins and close friends.

Karen was an incredible person and loved spending time with her daughter. She also loved to travel and visited a new country each spring with her husband. She also enjoyed gardening and baking.

At husband Walter’s request, the funeral and burial will be a private event for immediate family only. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

May 8, 2013

“Hi. My name is Carrie, I’m an alcoholic. On May 1st, I celebrated 5 years of continuous sobriety.

“I got sober in prison thanks to H & I (Hospitals and Institutions, for those who don’t know). My life was a mess long before I wound up in prison. Prison was just the physical separation from drugs and alcohol I needed to finally surrender and get help.

“The only solution I had for living before the program was drinking and drugging. My solution took me places I didn’t want to go, kept me longer than I wanted to stay and cost me more than I was prepared to pay.

“5 years ago I caused a horrible car crash that killed a woman. She was someone’s friend, daughter, wife and mother. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about that woman and her family.

“Now that I have done my time, I have dedicated my life to carrying the message of hope and recovery to those who still suffer. I know I can never repair the damage I have done, but I try every single day to do my best to be a better person and give back a world where I have already taken so much from.

“Thank you all for 5 years.”May 1st, 2016

8 long years of trying to numb the pain

8 long years of trying to forget the events of one tragic day

8 long years of tying to slowly join her mother whom she missed so much

Bridget started drinking at 16. She was unable to cope and found her only comfort in the bottom of a bottle.

Bridget knew she couldn’t drink anymore. She also knew she couldn’t stop.

Her brokenhearted father tried all he could to help. There was counseling, interventions and even brief visits to rehabs. But nothing seemed to have any effect.

Desperate, broken and with no other options, Bridget walked into a local church where they held recovery meetings.

As she walked in the door, a woman reached out and shook her hand, “Hi. My name is Carrie. Welcome.”