Karen Garcia Rodriguez was 32 years old and 32 weeks pregnant.
PHOENIX — A Valley family and the nursing community are mourning the loss of a woman who dedicated her life to helping others.
Karen Garcia Rodriguez, a 32-year-old wife and mother of two, was hit and killed by a driver who officials believe was under the influence.
Making the tragedy even harder to process, Karen was 32 weeks pregnant.
“She was very selfless. She always was concerned about everybody else,” said Mazi Mowzoon, her husband.
Karen was a registered nurse and DACA recipient who spoke out to 12News in April of 2020 about treating COVID patients at the start of the pandemic and her passion for serving the immigrant community.
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Karen was devoted to helping other people’s lives. Now, her own has been cut short.
She leaves behind her husband and 10-year-old and 5-year-old.
“She always sacrificed everything for everyone,” Mowzoon said.
Karen became a nurse after remembering watching her Spanish-speaking mom struggle to communicate with hospital staff. She was the youngest in her family and the first to attend college.
After working at hospitals in the Valley, she decided to become a traveling nurse to touch the communities that needed her to help the most.
She was just two weeks away from finishing a contract in Kingman. She was on her way north for a shift the following day when she was struck head-on by a driver on Highway 93. She and her unborn baby were killed.
DPS officials say the driver was suspected of being under the influence and criminal charges will be forwarded to the Yavapai County Attorney’s Office.
“I try to focus on all the good things she brought and on the legacy that she can change people,” Mowzoon said. “That’s what I try to focus on with the kids so that they can learn that from her.”
Mowzoon is now committed to continuing his wife’s mission.
“Especially marginalized communities that need to know that there’s help and there are people that support them and they can make their dreams come true that’s what really drove her and that’s what’s gonna drive me,” Mowzoon said.
As the outpouring of community support has made it clear, Karen’s legacy already lives on.
“That’s the only thing that’s bringing me peace is being able to help other people because that’s what she would’ve done,” Mowzoon said.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to assist Karen’s family during this difficult time. You can find the link to donate here.
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