The family of Katie Evans, a devoted mother of six, never expected her most recent trip to see her premature baby girls at a hospital would be her last.
“She was traveling home late at night after visiting her baby girls at the hospital … and she was hit,” Evans’ sister-in-law, Caralee, tells PEOPLE. “They said her body was thrown from the vehicle. It was pretty mangled.”
Evans was nearly home when she collided with two other cars near the intersection of Golden Valley Road and Valley Center Drive in Santa Clarita, California, a spokesperson with Santa Clarita Sheriff’s Station tells PEOPLE. Evans’ husband, Jacob, quickly became worried when she didn’t return home.
“Jacob called us during the night and said, ‘I’m really worried my wife never made it home from the hospital last night,’ ” Caralee says. “I guess he had been up all night. He expected her to be home shortly after midnight.”
She adds: “It wasn’t an uncommon time for her to come home from the hospital. He expected her to be home and an hour later was calling around and he couldn’t get ahold of her.”
The spokesperson says that a 21-year-old driver veered into oncoming traffic, crossing a median and hitting Evans’ vehicle head-on. Evans was pronounced dead at the scene. The spokesperson says alcohol is believed to have played a role in the crash and the driver will be arrested once it is determined she was under the influence.
Jacob’s brother, Michael, says Jacob and the couple’s four sons — the eldest of which has special needs — are coping the best way they can.
“We have a rough road ahead of us, trying to figure out how to handle everything,” Michael says of the family. “The outpouring of support from the community, from the internet, from our local church, from neighbors … it has been absolutely overwhelming.”
Things had been looking up for the Evans family. The infants, who were born about 2 lbs. each, were thriving and the family was excited to welcome the “miracle” babies, little Sarah and Hannah.
Caralee says Evans visited her little ones nearly every day, and a photo showed the proud mom smiling wide as she held the tiny girls.
“She might have been 25 weeks when she delivered. They were not expected to survive at all,” Caralee tells PEOPLE. “Every day was like a miracle at the beginning … it was a super high-risk pregnancy.”
A YouCaring fundraiser has been started to help cover living expenses for the family.
Evans leaves behind her husband, Jacob, four sons — Spencer, 12, Travis, 11, Nathaniel, 9 and 2-year-old Gideon — and her twin baby girls, the page states, noting that the girls were “not even 8 weeks old.”