When this man’s wife was late coming home from the hospital one night, he immediately grew worried. Her journey shouldn’t have taken much more than an hour, so when she didn’t show up he called family and friends, worried about her. Then he retraced her route home, and came across the crash that had claimed his wife’s life.
Katie Evans arrived to the world in Bountiful, Utah. Along with four brothers and sisters, her childhood was spent in Minnesota, and then Illinois, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in anthropology. Katie loved to travel, and spent time living in Japan and Puerto Rico, as well as in states all over mainland U.S.A.
It was in Southern California, however, where she settled with her husband, Jacob, after they married in 2002. A few years later, the kids started to arrive. First came Spencer, followed by Travis a year later and Nathaniel two years after that. More recently a fourth boy, Gideon, arrived.
Gideon, however, apparently felt lonely growing up on his own, seven years younger than his next older brother. So the stay-at-home mom and her husband started trying for another baby. But it was to be a journey fraught with difficulties that Jacob started to take as a sign.
“She had a total of three miscarriages,” 41-year-old Jacob explained to People in October 2017. “I’m fairly sure that we would not have tried again if this pregnancy had ended in miscarriage. Katie and I are pretty old to be having more children and we thought perhaps we were done.”
As luck would have it, though, 37-year-old Katie fell pregnant, and soon after doctors revealed she was going to have twins. The exciting news, however, came with a warning. Doctors described it as an “extremely high risk” pregnancy, and warned the parents that it was unlikely their babies would make it all the way to birth.
But survive they did, and on August 13, 2017, Katie gave birth – by way of emergency C-section – to two baby girls, Sarah and Hannah. The girls were around three months premature, and weighed a little over a pound each. They were, nonetheless, the girls Katie had dreamed of.
“She willed them to survive and thrive,” Jacob said to People. “She couldn’t go a day without seeing them… she wanted to hold them every day. She wasn’t allowed to do that for the first month, so it was only after about a month that she was able to start holding them.”
When the twins were two months old, things were looking good. The girls had about doubled in weight, and doctors were optimistic that they could go home in around a month’s time. A photo of Katie beaming while cradling the tiny babies illustrated just how happy she was.
On Friday October 6, however, things took a devastating turn. Katie had been at the hospital visiting her girls when, at around 11:00 p.m., she called her husband to say she was on her way home. It wasn’t unusual for Katie to stay at the hospital that late, but he thought she would be home about an hour after she left.
As time wore on, however, Jacob became worried. As he recalled, “The last time I spoke to Katie was 11 o’clock that night. She called me to let me know that she was going to be coming home… The hours between 2:30 and 5:30 [in the morning] were the longest of my life.”
When he got no answer from his wife, Jacob began phoning around the family. When they hadn’t seen or heard from her, he went looking for her. He jumped in his car and followed the route Katie would have driven home from the hospital. On his way, he unfortunately encountered the scene of a car crash.
At the site of the accident, Jacob learned that his wife had been involved. “I called the hospital and she hadn’t been admitted, so I was pretty sure that she hadn’t made it,” Jacob confessed. At home at around 5:30 a.m., he received a visit from the coroner. His worst fear had been confirmed: Katie had been killed.
Katie was only a mile away from home when the tragedy occurred. It is believed that a vehicle swerved into oncoming traffic and struck Katie’s car head-on. Katie died almost instantly. Though it’s thought the 21-year-old driver of the other vehicle was drunk-driving, Jacob’s primary concern now is not how his wife died.
“I’m not angry at the driver,” Jacob told People. “There’s too much anger in the world already.” Instead he intends to focus on how his wife lived and be a positive influence while raising his six kids alone – particularly his two daughters, who already show signs of their mother’s character.
“Katie is smart and sassy, and I see in Sarah and Hannah the same sassiness,” Jacob observed. “That fight, that will to do things and to live, is very much Katie. I knew she was smart and sassy when I married her.” It’s been a big adjustment for the family in the wake of their loss, but they’re pulling together.
Jacob says his four sons – the eldest of whom has special needs – often help in caring for their baby sisters, and Gideon especially often cradles one of them. Other family members, and friends too, are close by to lend a helping hand. It’s a situation, however, that Jacob admits will be tough for the months and years ahead.
“The hardest part is that I have a lot of things I have to figure out,” he revealed to People. “Any difficult challenges I faced in life, I would discuss with her and we would figure it out together. So it feels a lot like trying to tie a knot one-handed: the other half of that problem-solving team is not here.”
And the biggest problem Jacob has yet to solve? That would be how to raise six kids without the support of his wife. Whatever struggles come the family’s way, however, Jacob is determined to keep a positive outlook. No easy task while he’s adjusting to life without his wife.
“One thing we’ve tried to do is to write down as many memories as we can of what we used to do together, of what we felt,” Jacob revealed. “I have pictures of me and my wife that Travis will often sit in front of and just kind of look at his mom and miss her. He wants to make sure he remembers her.”