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Former Hagerstown woman dies after Wyoming crash

August 11, 2010|By DAN DEARTH
  • Kristen Ardinger Karn
Submitted photo,

The family and friends of a former Hagerstown woman who died Tuesday from injuries after a two-vehicle crash in Wyoming said her death came at a time when her life was beginning to peak, with the recent birth of her first child.

Kristen Ardinger Karn, 40, of 10780 Old Yellowstone Road in Jackson, Wyo., died Tuesday night at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in Idaho Falls, Idaho, a hospital spokeswoman said.

"Kristen had an awful lot of friends in the Hagerstown area," her father, Don Ardinger, said Wednesday in a telephone interview from Idaho. "We're still a little numb. It's been a tough two days."

Karn's uncle, Williamsport resident Ned Ardinger, said his niece lived most of her life in Hagerstown and graduated from St. Maria Goretti High School. Ardinger said she moved to Wyoming several years ago and, in 2009, married Daniel Karn. The couple's daughter, Harper Price, was born 10 weeks ago.

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"I've never seen her happier with what transpired in her life, getting married and having a child," Ned Ardinger said in a telephone interview Wednesday. "It was really tragic, but ... a lot of her dreams kind of came true over the last year."

On Monday morning, Karn was driving on Highway 22 about a mile west of Jackson when her 2005 GMC Yukon collided head-on with a Ford F-150 pickup truck driven by Cresencio Perez-Avila, 40, also of Jackson, according to a report from the Wyoming Highway Patrol.

Perez-Avila was pronounced dead at the scene, the report said. Karn was flown to the Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center, where she died Tuesday at about 11:30 p.m. Mountain time.

Troopers said Karn's child, who was in the right rear passenger's seat, was uninjured.

The highway patrol said a preliminary investigation showed that Perez-Avila was traveling east on Highway 22 when his vehicle went left of center and collided with Karn's vehicle.

Jerry Creek, who lives near Smithsburg, said he and Karn met about 20 years ago and were good friends.

Creek said he wanted to be by her side in the hospital, so he flew out of Baltimore on Tuesday afternoon and arrived in Jackson that night. He rented a car and drove to the hospital, but he got there too late.

"She passed away just as I was pulling into the hospital," Creek said. "She was an amazing person."

Creek said Karn was happier over the course of the last year than she had ever been.

"She told me life couldn't get any better," he said. "She had what she wanted. We were 2,000 miles apart, but we stayed in touch. She was like the little sister I never had."

Hagerstown resident Julie Wright said she used to lifeguard with Karn at Fountain Head Country Club when they were teenagers. The two became friends and kept in touch after they went their separate ways.

She said she found out Wednesday morning that Karn had died.

"She was amazing," Wright said. "She was very positive. She was everything you'd want in a person ... You could count on her like the sun coming up tomorrow."

Wright said Karn loved the outdoors and moved to Wyoming to start a new life after her fiance died. She said Karn ran a "doggy day-care" business and reveled in being a wife and mother.

"She adored her husband and she adored her daughter," Wright said. "She couldn't have been happier."

Don Ardinger said his daughter's funeral arrangements were pending.

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