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New Medford arrivals hoping for better luck

New Medford resident Kristen Williams is hoping her faith in humanity can be restored after her first two weeks in the Rogue Valley found her with her mom hospitalized for surgery and her car stolen from in front of her house.

Two days before Williams, 36, and her family left Tucson, Arizona, Feb. 9, her mother, Sue Lucero, fell in a hotel bathroom, breaking her head open and fracturing her arm. The family had just sent all of their belongings to Medford and were staying overnight to rest before making the drive.

Dealing with anxiety related to a near-fatal car accident in 2015, Williams planned for her mother to drive the family from Arizona to Southern Oregon. Determined to stay on track, Williams decided to overcome her fears, and “man up and drive.”

With her mom set for surgery Tuesday to put several plates in her arm, Williams set about providing some routine for her daughter, staying with family in southwest Medford near Jefferson Elementary.

Finding a job right away — as a caregiver — and enrolling her daughter in school, she started to seek the comfort of routine. Every morning, she warms her car. After school, she and her daughter feed a pair of neighborhood goats.

Tuesday morning, Williams turned her car engine on and went inside to rush her daughter along.

“We’re in a quiet, nice neighborhood. I go out and warm up my car every day, so I didn’t think anything of it,” Williams said.

“The house has one of those Ring doorbell systems, but it never showed my car leaving, so it drove into the neighborhood instead of going in front of the house.”

Williams said she is no stranger to bad luck. She said she nearly died in a car accident in 2015 when she was hit head-on by a landscape truck that ran through an intersection. Her father, whom she helped care for in his final years, had died shortly before the accident. She was injured so severely she forgot her dad had passed away when she first awoke from the crash.

Leaving Arizona for Medford was an important new beginning, she hoped.

“To just drive when we were moving out here, I really had to overcome my fears. The car was the one good thing to come from my accident,” she said.

“I was so proud of myself. I got everybody here safe — my mom and daughter and my mom’s little dog. I was feeling so comfortable and not letting any of the little things get me down. But I swear, how many times can somebody be kicked down and keep getting back up?”

Williams is asking people to keep an eye out for her car, a dark bronze 2014 Honda CRV with Arizona license plates. She has insurance, but the replacement process is time consuming and she starts a new job Friday.

“I just feel so numb after the last 10 days, and really it’s been a hard few years. (Tuesday) was my day for heartache and tears. (Wednesday) was spent feeling pretty angry. I’d really rather find it than replace it,” she said. “There’s a lot of emotion attached to the car and to the last 10 days.”

While recovering from surgery this week, Lucero said it was hard to believe the stroke of bad luck her family had encountered. “It felt a little bit like, ‘Welcome to Medford, we’re stealing your car!’”

Williams set up a donation page to help the family rebuild what was stolen at https://bit.ly/2SLV58z.

Anyone with information is asked to call Medford police and reference case No. 202941.

Buffy Pollock is a freelance writer living in Medford. Email her at buffyp76@yahoo.com.

Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneKristen Williams, with her daughter Ava’monroe. The new Medford arrivals have had a tough first two weeks in town, punctuated by surgery for Williams’ mother and a stolen car.