Santa Ana police reunite family with 79-year-old woman who's been in coma for 5 months

SANTA ANA, Calif. (KABC) -- Santa Ana police reunited a family with a Garden Grove woman who remains in a coma after a car accident.

Connie Simms, 79, was walking in a crosswalk in August when she was hit by a car. The driver remained on scene and police have determined it was an accident. Simms hit her head and went into a coma. Her family did not know about it until December.

"Not unusual for her to not respond if she got a little busy," said Carmen Alexander, Simms' daughter who lives in Arizona. "She's very into her routine and also fiercely protective of her independence."

Officers tried to identify family members after the accident by making calls and even putting out press releases, but kept hitting dead ends. Cpl. Brett Nelson followed the case for nearly five months.

Finally, in December he connected with Connie's daughter who had asked for a welfare check at her mother's house. The family became worried when she didn't show up for the holidays.

"That's somebody's mother, grandmother, someone's sister, somebody out there is missing this woman and needs to be aware of her current situation," Nelson said.

The family rushed from out of town to be by Connie's side. The situation prompted the police department to team up with Baby Boomer Basics, a company that encourages people like Connie to put stickers and cards in their car, pointing officers and paramedics to family members.

"Whether it's in your car, on your refrigerator, or in your wallet, have your emergency contact, it's very important for first responders," said Christina Selters, the founder of the company.

Police are stressing the importance of this, not only for baby boomers, but everyone, to ensure you can answer this question if something happens to you.

"How are my family members? The people who are important to me and the people that need to know I'm injured. How are they going to find out?" Cpl. Anthony Bertagna said.

You can find the cards and stickers at the Santa Ana Police Department or at events around Southern California.
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