Lauren Hoover, R.I.P.: Famed Budtender Dies of Injuries From Terrible Crash

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Update: After updating our story about Phil Zajicek, a former pro cyclist whose arm was severed in a terrible crash for which neither he nor the driver of the truck he hit will be cited, we checked the GoFundMe page for Lauren Hoover, who was also hurt in a horrific automobile accident — and we were shocked and dismayed to discover that on March 23, the day after our previous update, on view below, she passed away.

Here's the remembrance of Hoover published on the page:

Elizabeth Lauren Hoover, 26, was called home to be with Jesus on March 23, 2016 after a tragic auto accident on March 2 in Breckenridge, Colorado.

Lauren was born August 1, 1989 in Colorado Springs to Harvey Bantleon "Banty" and Jill Ann (Gardner) Hoover. She graduated from Coronado High School in 2008 and attended Metro State College in Denver and Colorado Mountain College in Breckenridge, majoring in business marketing. She was gifted with an entrepreneurial spirit in the field of alternative medicine, health, and fashion design. She excelled in the discipline of yoga and was working towards becoming an instructor. Lauren was a marathon-runner, expert snowboarder, artist, and enjoyed many sports including cheerleading, hiking (climbing fourteener's), tennis, soccer and had a passion for traveling. Lauren competed in figure skating for many years and won several gold medals. She loved Jesus and participated in several mission trips through church and Uncharted Waters Sports Ministry. She had the voice of an angel and loved the theater, playing lead roles in many classic musical productions including The Wizard of Oz, Annie, High School Musical, and Oliver. Elizabeth Lauren is survived by her parents, Banty and Jill Hoover, her sister, Elise Ann (Hoover) King and husband, Noah, and their two sons, Miles and Mason Hoover, and Myra Elizabeth King (born the day before Lauren's death), all of Colorado Springs, her fiancée, Brandon Austin of Breckenridge, and their son Jayden of Hoboken, NJ. There are numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, and nephews. We would like to acknowledge our family, church, and countless friends, who have come along side us in love, prayer, and support during these past three weeks as our little girl fought bravely for her life. 

We send our belated condolences to the friends, family and loved ones of Lauren Hoover. See our previous coverage below.

Update, 5:39 a.m. March 22: Last week, we told you about Lauren Hoover, a budtender featured in the CNN marijuana reality series High Profits, who was fighting for her life after a devastating automobile accident; see our previous coverage below.

Now, Hoover's loved ones have increased the dollar amount on a GoFundMe page created after the crash from $40,000 to $500,000 based on the severity of her injuries and the anticipated length of her recovery process.

A note added to the page — see it in its entirety below — says that she's expected to be in intensive care for at least another month.

Moreover, her rehabilitation process is likely to last "upwards of a year or longer."

Hoover most recently was working at High Country Healing in Silverthorne; High Profits documented her time at another dispensary, the Breckenridge Cannabis Club.

On the morning of March 2, a day that saw inclement weather conditions in the area, Hoover was driving to HCH when she crashed.

Her condition was so serious that she was immediately transferred to a hospital in Lakewood via Flight for Life — and she remains there.

The update doesn't address whether Hoover remains in a coma — a condition that afflicted her for the two weeks immediately following the crash.

However, the message offers hope for her eventual recovery, albeit at tremendous cost.

At this writing, more than $31,000 has been pledged toward the $500,000 goal. To visit the page, click here.

Look below to read the update, followed by our earlier report.

I would like to preface Lauren's story by expressing why we increased her amount on go-fund-me. First of all, we want to thank every single person who has given a financial contribution to Lauren's cause and medical expenses. Our goal is to thank everyone individually, but with traveling back and forth from Denver, and spending most of our days at the hospital, it is difficult to get on here as often as we would like. We have already started receiving bills, and are realizing just how expensive this journey  is going to be for Lauren and our family. We are also very unsure how long the recovery could be. She is still in ICU indefinitely. She will most likely spend an additional 4-6 weeks on a different floor in the hospital before she is even considered for rehabilitation. Ultimately, she could be placed in an in-patient rehab for upwards of a year or longer. Again, we are so grateful for the outpouring of donations and feel blessed beyond measure!

Original post, 5:48 a.m. March 16: Last year, we previewed High Profits, a CNN marijuana reality series focusing on the Breckenridge Cannabis Club, owned by Caitlin McGuire and Brian Rogers.

Among those featured on the show was budtender Lauren Hoover.

Now, Hoover is fighting for her life following a terrible car crash.

She's been in a coma for two weeks — and tonight in Breckenridge, a run is being staged on her behalf. 

The idea behind the event and a GoFundMe page created after the accident: to raise money that will be needed in what is anticipated to be a long and arduous recovery process.

Here's CNN's description of High Profits, as shared in our original post:

In the newest CNN Original Series High Profits, viewers will meet Brian Rogers and Caitlin McGuire: two business-minded, dream seeking, relentless visionaries with a plan unlike any other — to franchise marijuana. The eight-part series, produced by Bat Bridge Entertainment, will grant exclusive access to the couple poised to be the first ever “moguls of marijuana.”
Like the oil tycoons and dot-com magnates that have come before them, the owners of Breckenridge Cannabis Club (BCC) are at the forefront of a new industry that’s prime for an abundance of wealth and opportunity.

To put in perspective: in the months since Colorado became the first place in the world to legalize the use and sale of recreational marijuana, the BCC has grown from a $515,000 per year medical marijuana dispensary with four employees to a $5,000,000 per year business of 30 employees. They are giving their competitors a run for their money, and recently bought a competing business in a neighboring resort town. And their sights do not set there.

Brian and Caitlin want to expand beyond the oversaturated Colorado market, which seems to have more pot stores than coffee shops, and build the first marijuana franchise. Since the benefits of marijuana decriminalization have not gone unnoticed (think revenue streams attractive to even the most conservative of politicians, lower crime rates and job creation), they are working towards expanding to other states as they follow Colorado’s suit.

Each one-hour episode will examine this new booming industry, following two entrepreneurs as they manage a highly lucrative chain of retail marijuana stores, one of the largest grow facilities in the State and build a franchise empire. This is no easy feat — especially when the product lining their shelves, and pockets, continues to be classified as an illegal Schedule 1 drug by the federal government.

Employee issues and customers’ demands. Product growth and testing. Newfound wealth and serious safety concerns. Complicated taxes and unfriendly banks. Political games and legal hurdles. High Profits will diary America’s first ever moguls of marijuana who have to rise above all of this and more.

Below, see two videos that offer a taste of the program. The first presents a general overview....

...while the second describes marijuana terminology and features Hoover demonstrating how to use a bong.

The program didn't become a massive hit, but neither has it vanished from the media landscape.

It's currently available for streaming on Netflix.

According to the Summit County Daily, Hoover is no longer an employee at BCC; in recent months, she's worked at High Country Healing in Silverthorne.

In addition, she's a business major at Colorado Mountain College, 7News notes, and is engaged to be married. Her fiance is Brandon Austin.

But her future plans were put on hold based on what happened on March 2.

Hoover was commuting to High Country Healing at 7:45 a.m. on that Wednesday when she was part of a head-on collision on Highway 6, not far from Dillon Dam Road, the Daily points out.

Afterward, she was transported to St. Anthony Hospital in Lakewood via Flight for Life.

She currently remains at the facility, suffering from serious brain injuries. Hoover has been in a coma since shortly after the crash.

More information is shared on the aforementioned GoFundMe page, which notes that "the weather conditions were extremely poor" when the accident took place.

Also featured are more details about the Hoover beloved by those in her circle. An excerpt reads:

Anyone who has had an opportunity to be around Lauren Hoover knows how beautiful and invigorating her spirit is. You may know her from her many walks of life, from growing up in Colorado Springs, to her adventurous mountain lifestyle. She is currently residing in Breckenridge with her fiance Brandon Austin who has also been a tremendous support to her over the past seven years.

Lauren has a reputation for being very active in the community, particularly involving her outdoor hobbies, such as: running, snowboarding, and yoga. She often volunteers her time towards local community events and causes. She is currently attending classes at Colorado Mountain College, studying for a degree in business.

She has experienced a lot in her young life, and has always proven to come out stronger on the other side. Her desire to succeed as an entrepreneur, and her willingness to do anything for her friends and family proves the love, strength, and courage that she never fails to share with others. She comes from a family who believes in the power of miracles through Jesus, and we know that she has the love of Jesus in her heart too. We ask that you would band with our family and come in agreement that she will have a fast, full-recovery.  

At this writing, Hoover's GoFundMe page has raised more than $28,000 toward a goal of $40,000. For more information, click here.

As for her condition, the following account was shared on the CaringBridge site two days after Lauren was hospitalized:

The first day in the hospital was very stressful and there were many question marks as to whether or not she was going to survive. Because of the swelling from the internal brain bleed, the doctors were ready to do whatever it might take to save her life, including a very invasive brain surgery. Fortunately, as of yesterday, March, 3, the brain swelling has decreased dramatically, and there hasn't been anymore talk of having to do the surgery. We attribute this all to prayer, by the way! After any kind of head trauma, the first 72 hours are usually when peak head swelling occurs, so we are praying that things continue to improve through tomorrow morning and moving forward.

At this point, there are still lots of other concerns for Lauren, as she is in ICU, which is where she will most likely be for at least another 1-2 weeks, depending on her progress. She is still in a medical/barbiturate- induced coma. As long as the brain swelling stays down, the doctors and nurses will continue to reduce the sedation. Unfortunately, there are a whole slew of other risk factors that come along with being in a medically induced coma and on life support. When one is in a medically induced state, the brain is completely inactive; therefore, it cannot send the body any signals or simple commands. Because Lauren is not able to cough right now, the doctors are concerned about fluid building in the lungs. They performed a scope and found that her left lung was full of fluid and has collapsed. They sent off a sample of the fluid and are waiting to make sure that there is no infection. It will be a day or two before we get those results back.

We have lots of prayers right now. First, our prayer is that the brain swelling will continue to subside. Second, is that she won't have any further complications from the heavy sedation, third is that she will come out of the coma, and the fourth is that she will have a full recovery. We are still at the beginning of a very long journey and process with many unknowns. We have accepted that this is in God's hands. My continued prayer is that each of the doctors and nurses who work with her would be assigned an angel and covered in the blood of Jesus.

Lauren is a fighter and she seems to be pulling through, but our family is still waiting to be pinched from this horrific nightmare. We just want her to wake up and be Lauren again, but we know that things like this take lots of time, and in many cases lots of trial and error. 

Tonight, friends, family and loved ones of Hoover are demonstrating their continuing commitment to her via what's termed a "Love & Light Run." It's scheduled to get under way at 6 p.m. at Vertical Runner Breckenridge. 301 North Main Street in Breck. For more information, visit the Vertical Runner Breckenridge Facebook page.

In the meantime, we send positive thoughts to Lauren Hoover and those who love her.

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