- Associated Press - Monday, December 17, 2018

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - Jefferson County Probate Judge Alan King thanked God for his wife just moments after he was told she was killed in a hit-and-run crash as they walked along a street in Denver.

King and his daughter Kendall King were both seriously injured in the Thanksgiving night wreck, but his wife of 32-years, Karen King, was killed.

“We were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. There’s no way to plan for anything like this,” King said.

He and his wife were in Denver visiting 30-year-old Kendall to celebrate the holiday; the King’s 28-year-old son Taylor is currently in the Navy and wasn’t in the country. Thanksgiving Day was great - the three had Thanksgiving lunch at a restaurant and then headed back to Kendall’s apartment.

They stayed there for the afternoon, watching movies and enjoying their time together, and then the trio started the short walk from Kendall’s apartment to the hotel where the couple was staying. That’s when their lives changed forever.

There were cars stopped at an intersection, King remembered, and they stepped out to cross the street. Suddenly, a driver came “plowing through” the intersection and struck all three of the Kings.

King said he believes he lost consciousness and woke up in the median. His head was bleeding and he couldn’t see because his glasses had been knocked off in the impact. But, he did see that to his left, Kendall and Karen were lying in the road. When he yelled out for them, he didn’t get a response.

King said he was aware of people around him, saying “be still.” He must have blacked out again, because the next thing King remembers is being loaded into an ambulance with his daughter. “I told her I loved her, and I asked “where’s Karen, where’s Karen,” King said. No one answered his question.

The judge and his daughter were taken to a large hospital and both underwent surgery. King remembers coming out of surgery and asking several times where his wife was, but again didn’t get a response.

Finally, hospital staff reunited King and Kendall and told them that Karen had died. King said he and his daughter held hands as he prayed, thanking God for Karen and his life with her, and for Kendall’s life.

King’s son Taylor and his brother Tom King, who is a retired Jefferson County civil judge, flew to Denver to be with their family. Days later, the Denver mayor contacted them. “He was very, very gracious,” King said.

Now, both King and his daughter are recovering from their injuries and coping with Karen’s death. If the judge’s recovery goes smoothly, he’s hoping to be back on the bench sometime after the middle of January.

Denver police have worked “many, many hours” to find the person responsible for the hit-and-run, King said, but so far investigators don’t have a photograph of the driver or the license plate. Although there were street cameras in the area, they weren’t able to capture either of those pictures. Police do know the path the vehicle took after striking the King family.

“I wish to thank everyone in Alabama for their outpouring of support and many prayers that were sent on behalf of our family,” King said. There will be ceremony held later for Karen.

Judge King has been on the Jefferson County bench for over 18 years. He won re-election in November, after contemplating and ultimately deciding against going into retirement.

King has been vocal on issues like gay marriage and opposing a national travel ban, and was also appointed to a commission created by President Donald Trump.

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Information from: The Birmingham News, http://www.al.com/birminghamnews


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