Wreck victim’s organs likely saved 8 lives

Published 1:25 am Tuesday, July 18, 2017

A Georgetown, Ky., woman who died as the result of an accident near Opp Saturday was an organ donor who is believed to have helped save eight lives.

Karen Sue Ritchie, 46, was critically injured Saturday afternoon when the 2015 Toyota Tundra driven by her husband, Kevin Ritchie, was hit head-on by a 2005 Nissan Altima driven by William Antonio Edwards, 21, of Opp.

Karen Ritchie was flown to a nearby Baptist Hospital in Pensacola, where she was pronounced dead a day later, Sunday, at 11:45 a.m.

Kevin Ritchie was also injured in the wreck, but has been released from the hospital, according to family friend Mark Walls.

The couple left Georgetown on Friday to travel to Destin when they got separated from other family members who were making the trip with them in a separate car.

The crash occurred around 3:40 p.m. on U.S. 331 at the 18.40 mile marker, three miles south of Opp.

Edwards also was transported to an area hospital for the treatment of his injuries.

The crash is still being investigated by Alabama Law Enforcement Agency.

Ritchie had worked as a human resources coordinator for the Salvation Army of Central Kentucky since 2011.

“She was a huge bright spot in our staff,” said Salvation Army Major Thomas Hinzman. “She was always a great worker. With the staff the size that we have, she touched the lives of all our employees. She knew everyone by name.”

According to Hinzman, Karen Ritchie was an organ donor.

“She’s already helped save eight people,” Hinzman said. “Even up until the very end she was giving to help someone else. That’s Karen. She was a giver. We could have the roughest day and she was kind of person that could lift the spirits of our staff and our clients. She’s a remarkable woman, one of kind.

“We’d just like everyone to send some prayers to Kevin and their two sons, Nathan and Zack,” Hinzman added.

Ryan Alves of  The Georgetown (Ky.) Graphic provided this report.