PHOENIX - A Phoenix area mother and beloved travel nurse died in a car crash while on her way to work, and her family is sharing her story, in hopes to remember her not by the crash, but by the legacy she leaves behind.
"She was driving, on her way to work that day, and I didn't get a call," said Garcia's widower, Mazi Mowzoon.
The crash that killed Karen Garcia Rodriguez happened late at night on July 10. Garcia was heading to the hospital in Kingman to care for others as a nurse when she was transported instead as a car crash victim.
"There is a portion of that freeway that is pretty dangerous, and there's also no cell service, so we'd always worry that we couldn't communicate at that time, and that worry became a reality," said Mowzoon.
According to DPS officials, a fatal crossover collision happened on the freeway.
"That night is replayed, every night, in my head," said Mowzoon. "She was 32 weeks pregnant, and we had a baby girl on the way. We lost the baby as well."
Besides her husband, Garcia also leaves behind a 10-year-old and a five-year-old.
Right now, Mowzoon wants to focus not on his wife's death, but on her life. Garcia was a DACA recipient who worked against the odds to graduate with her GED, and become a nurse on the front lines of the pandemic.
"There are heroes in certain communities, and I know she's a hero in this community. That means a lot to us," said Mowzoon.
That is a message echoed by Garcia's colleagues.
"She was very selfless, and she was an empath with her patients," said Ashley Merida, Vice President of the National Association of Hispanic Nurses. "She was an extraordinary nurse, but being able to empathize and put herself in their shoes, and really be able to do what she would want for her family, that's exactly the type of nurse that she was."
Even in death, Garcia is helping others.
"She was an organ donor. She saw first hand what skin grafts and everything, people who were donors, how it affected, so she wanted to do it, and I honored her wishes," said Mowzoon.
250 people were at the memorial for Garcia, and Mowzoon said that is a testament to how many people his late wife impacted.
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Karen Garcia Rodriguez (Courtesy: Mazi Mowzoon)