Katie Evans was killed in 2017 by a drunk driver, and the story of the Santa Clarita mother of six children is being recalled by her husband days before the two-year anniversary of her death.
Jacob Evans met with KHTS and The Way Out Recovery SCV to talk about the tragedy as part of his ongoing advocacy against driving under the influence.
“I want to share my story because I want people to understand just how devastating it is when something like this happens,” Evans said. “It completely ruined my life to that point, and there have been some good things that have happened since, but I don’t want anyone to have to go through the sort of suffering and pain that my family has gone through.”
On Oct. 6, 2017, Katie was on her way home from the UCLA hospital NICU, where she was visiting her premature 2-month-old twins, when her car was hit by a drunk driver on Golden Valley Road.
“To understand what happened that night, you need to understand that the girls were in the NICU for a long period of time, and Katie was going down and visiting them every single day,” Evans said. “She called me around 11 (that night). She was a little frustrated with some of the things going on with the girls, and I told her, ‘Look, you’re really tired. We’ve been going through a lot. Why don’t you just come home and we can deal with this tomorrow?’”
When midnight came and went with no sign of Katie, Evans tried to call her, but her cell phone took him right to voicemail.
He didn’t know at the time that first responders had already arrived at a three-car crash not far from his home, and that open alcohol containers had been found inside the car of the “primary person,” later identified as 21-year-old Alexia Cina.
Cina’s blood alcohol content had been almost three times the legal limit, which had led her to strike the center median curb with her vehicle and collide with oncoming traffic, killing Katie in the crash that followed, according to officials.
“I decided to retrace my steps, and it was only a mile from the house where they had the whole road taped off and they wouldn’t let me through,” Evans said. “They wouldn’t tell it to me straight, but I was able to put all the pieces together and figure out that, unfortunately, that was her right there, a mile from her house, killed by a drunk driver.”
Evans continued, “That was 2:30 in the morning, and I went home. I wasn’t going to sleep obviously, and I just thought, ‘What am I going to tell the kids?’ A part of me wanted to wake them up and let them know, but I thought, no, let’s let them have one last good night of sleep.”
After making a few phone calls to friends, Evans was soon surrounded by a support system at his home, and at 5:30 a.m., Coroner’s officials knocked on the door to confirm Katie’s death.
“It took them a long time because they couldn’t positively identify the body,” Evans said. “It had been so mangled in the accident. They never even let me see the body.”
On July 6, 2018, Cina entered a “no contest” plea to her charges related to the fatal DUI Crash, and a judge later sentenced her to 10 years in state prison, according to officials.
Evans remembered what Katie’s father had said in his victim statement at court, when Katie’s family had the chance to address Cina, her family and the judge.
“He talked about Katie and how he knew that Katie loved her, the driver of that car,” Evans said. “He said, ‘You may wonder how I know that. The answer is because Katie loved everyone.’ And that’s just who she was. She cared about everyone, she loved everyone, she was kind to everyone, and so it’s a tragic loss that, in a world where there’s so much intolerances and so much frustration and anger, that someone who loved so much, so unconditionally and so freely isn’t here anymore.”
Evans noted that the way someone handles adversity truly defines them, and he promoted using adversity in one’s life as a way to grow and “become something better” than before.
“Regardless of whether it’s drunk driving or something else, I just want the kids to commit to, when they do run into adversity in their lives, I want you guys to commit that you’re going to handle it the right way, that you’re going to become a better person for it and that you are going to try to make the world a better place,” Evans said.
Because Evans and Katie hadn’t had a sip of alcohol in their lives, they may have assumed that alcohol wasn’t “their business,” but Evans noted that this was never the case, as their family’s lives were forever changed because of drunk driving .
“Alcohol is everybody’s business. Don’t let your friends drink and drive. Don’t let somebody leave a party drunk, because you never know. It might be someone you know that’s life is impacted forever,” Evans said. “Have a plan. Don’t drink and drive.”
In Santa Clarita, drug issues are a major concern for many. The mission of the Santa Clarita rehab The Way Out Recovery SCV Drug and Alcohol Outpatient Treatment is to provide high quality, effective alcohol and drug outpatient treatment. The drug rehab’s goal is to assist adolescents, adults and their loved ones in becoming happily and usefully whole, free from drug addiction. Those seeking Santa Clarita drug treatment or a teen drug rehab can rest assured that The Way Out Recovery’s philosophy is to teach lifelong coping skills and strategies to assist in improving quality of life and living happily and meaningfully without the need of destructive behaviors.
The Way Out Recovery SCV
28118 Bouquet Canyon Road
Santa Clarita, CA 91350