A Paso Robles man and his four children are being held in their community’s embrace after the husband ran over his wife in a tragic parking lot accident.
On Thursday afternoon, Kenneth “KC” Carlson, 38, drove to pick up a check from his wife, Jana Carlson, 34, at the Paso Robles winery where she worked. The two paused to chat with his 2002 Ford F-350 truck still running in the lot at Broken Earth Winery.
They embraced and shared an, “I love you,” before she walked away, KC Carlson recalled during a phone interview from his home Friday.
As he began to drive, he was thinking to himself, “ ‘She is so happy right now,’ ” Carlson said.
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“And it was right in that moment. I felt something and looked in the mirror. I saw her lying there. I ran over and just held her head and started screaming for someone to call 911.”
A security tape from the winery showed Jana had dropped something directly in front of the car and was bent down — out of her husband’s sight — as he drove over her, he said. The CHP reported Jana Carlson was out of view when KC Carlson’s vehicle struck her.
“I just lay with her and tried to stop the bleeding,” KC Carlson said through tears.
Life-saving procedures were initiated, but Jana Carlson was pronounced dead at Twin Cities Community Hospital in Templeton. The cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head, according to the CHP report.
While initial reports indicate the death was an accident, the CHP is conducting an investigation, Officer Adrian Ayala said.
The Carlsons were married for 16 years and have four children — ages 15, 11, 7 and 4. Jana Carlson was a fifth-generation Paso Robles resident.
An earlier report saying the children were in the truck at the time of the accident was not true.
Family and friends who gathered Friday to grieve and comfort one another spoke via speakerphone to share stories of Jana Carlson’s generosity and faith.
“My mom was the most inspirational person I’ve ever met,” said Jana’s eldest daughter, 15-year-old Zyan Carlson. “She loved to pray with people. She was a huge believer in Christ.”
The family attends Highlands Church in Paso Robles.
“She always called me her fifth child,” KC Carlson said. “We were just little hearts inside of hers,” said Kandi Burger, Jana Carlson ’s best friend.
“She would be part of any activity to help people,” friend Jamie Dodd said. “I lost another best friend a year ago, and Jana dropped pretty much everything to help me through that and help me fundraise.”
That goodwill has circled back to the family in an outpouring of sympathy from friends and strangers, and donations via social media to provide a funeral for Carlson and Christmas presents for the Carlson children.
In addition to her job as assistant tasting room manager at the winery, Carlson also worked as a child care employee at Kennedy Club Fitness in Paso Robles.
Broken Earth Winery posted this message on its Facebook page Thursday: “Due to a tragedy at the winery today, we will be closed until Monday. Thank you for understanding.”
How to help
Donations to the Carlson family can be made through the “Jana Carlson Memorial Fund” at Chase Bank.
Donations can also be given through the website, www.gofundme.com/5uott8.
Gift cards for the family are being accepted at Paso Robles Sports Club on Union Road in Paso Robles.
A “Help For The Carlson Family” group on Facebook has been spearheaded by neighbor Jennifer Sorenson, who can be reached at 212-0903.
A benefit concert is scheduled for Jan. 25 at The Ranch, 1285 Mission St. in San Miguel.