Coal Ridge students rescue fallen woman |

Coal Ridge students rescue fallen woman

Scott Zevin Special to the Post IndependentCoal Ridge High School seniors Grace VanDevender, left, and Kayla Warren rescued a New Castle woman who fell and was seriously injured while walking on the C Avenue Trail.

NEW CASTLE, Colorado – New Castle resident Elaine Hill feels like she had a pair of guardian angels on the evening of Sept. 4.

It was a lovely evening, and Hill, 68, who was recovering from surgery on her arm that was done a week earlier, was walking the C Avenue Trail in New Castle for the first time.

“I noticed a beautiful tree,” Hill recalled. There were two teens near the tree, one taking photos of the other, and Hill nodded as she went by.

“The next thing I knew, my feet had slipped out from under me,” she said. She grabbed for her injured arm as she fell and cracked the back of her head on the ground.

“I slipped, hit my head and went unconscious,” said Hill. “When I began to wake up, I was seeing double, my vision was blurry and I was in a lot of pain. All I wanted to do was go home.”

That is when she realized she was not alone. Coal Ridge High School seniors Grace VanDevender and Kayla Warren were beside her the whole time, and had already called for help.

Kayla and Grace were out on the trail looking for subjects for Kayla’s photography project. Changing their route at the last minute, they ended up on the same section of trail with Hill.

“We saw her walking downhill and saw her fall when she lost her balance,” said Kayla. “When we got to her, she was unconscious.”

Grace called 911 while Kayla tried to get Hill to respond.

“We weren’t going to bring our cell phones,” said Grace. “But I thought that if my mom was trying to get a hold of me, she’d be upset if I didn’t answer.”

Hill, a fiber artist and retired art dealer, is grateful for the changes in the girls’ plans.

“If they hadn’t been there, I could have been outside all night,” said Hill. “I feel like there were two angels put there to see me. If they hadn’t been there, I don’t know what would have happened to me.”

Her doctor later speculated that she could have died of exposure or been attacked by a bear or mountain lion.

Instead, New Castle police and the Burning Mountains ambulance crew arrived after receiving Grace’s call.

Hill was taken to Valley View Hospital, where she says she was diagnosed with a concussion. She was released later that evening, but said she is still recovering from the fall.

Grace, who has ambitions of nursing school, said there was never an option of not assisting.

“We had to help her. It was just what we needed to do,” she explained.

Hill is thankful that the two students crossed her path.

“I am so thankful for these girls,” said Hill, who called Coal Ridge High School to suggest that they be recognized. “They came to my rescue and I feel they saved my life.”

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