SOMERS, N.Y.-A Somers woman is raising money to help pay for her mounting medical bills as a result of injuries she sustained after being struck by two cars, both of which fled the scene, on a highway in California.
Korren Knapp, 30, who was born and raised in Somers, said she was meeting a man she was introduced to through an online dating app for the first time and remembers having one drink at a bar before waking up in the hospital with major injuries and learning she had been hit by the cars on Interstate 8 in Lakeside, Calif.
A trooper with the California Highway Patrol provided few details of the accident, saying only that a 911 call came in at 4:47 a.m. May 29 from someone who saw Knapp lying on the side of the road.
“She was brought to the hospital by ambulance with major injuries,” said Trooper Travis Garrow. He said an investigation into the incident is ongoing, but because it was a hit-and-run and no one saw the license plate numbers on either vehicle, it’s been tough to track down any suspects.
News reports out of California at the time describe the accident as somewhat of a mystery and asked anyone with information about the two vehicles that hit Knapp to contact authorities. Investigators believe one of the vehicles is an F-250 or 250 pickup truck but have no information about the other vehicle.
“It was a freeway, so literally one car hit and another car hit and the miracle is that a tractor-trailer [driver]…saw me on the ground, like on the asphalt, and pulled his truck horizontal on four lanes of traffic and kept me alive until the EMTs got there,” Knapp said.
Knapp said she believes she was drugged and was possibly trying to escape a dangerous situation because, police say, she was seen on the highway before the crash waving her arms.
She had only been living in San Diego for about a year after moving from New York City when the accident happened. Doctors said it was too dangerous for Knapp to fly after the accident, so her parents flew West and stayed with her for months while she recovered.
Knapp was in a coma for about two weeks. She has since endured more than a dozen surgeries to repair injuries to her legs, left elbow, bladder and hip.
She said she has been denied disability and is now seeking help to pay for future surgeries, which include a hip replacement and extensive dental work.
Through #HelpKorren, she’s been spreading the word about her GoFundMe campaign, at gofundme.com/helpkorren, on Facebook and Instagram, where she already had followers from her former bodybuilding days. To date, she’s raised more than $5,000 toward her $25,000 goal.
Knapp is a 2006 graduate of Somers High School and said it was her dream to move to California to expand her business. Knapp is an art director and has worked on projects for HBO and Nickelodeon, along with such shows as “The Walking Dead.” Additionally, she is a fitness model and a bikini competitor for the National Physique Committee, the largest amateur bodybuilding organization in the United States.
She said doctors told her that her background in fitness helped immensely with her recovery and she hopes to model and compete again.
Photos of Knapp before the accident featuring bikini poses, tanned and exposing well-defined muscles, stand in stark contrast to those that capture her relying on a walker to get around, her smile minus teeth and the scarring on large swathes of her skin.
She posts details about her recovery on Instagram under the handle @onehipfitchick, where she’s amassed more than 10,000 followers. The posts include snippets from her day, such as her ability to pop a fake tooth in and out of her mouth and a mirror shot of a missing chunk of upper thigh, and she tries to inspire others who might be facing similar challenges.
She said she was nervous about posting a full body picture because of what others might think, but ultimately decided to share it thinking it might help someone else.
“I want to help women that have scars, physical/mental damages and deformities to stand up and show off their beautiful selves with ease,” Knapp said. “The world is full of too much judgment. People should be proud of who they are and what they have gone through.”